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Prostate cancer article was a disservice

July 10, 2006

Re: "Act? Wait? It Can Be Your Choice" [July 3]: You should consider amending your message so that men are encouraged to seek the best treatment option to assure survival. Your dialogue about the rumored "bad side effects" of prostate cancer treatment seem to emphasize to younger men that their sex life will be over, or they might be incontinent -- the wrong message.

When cancer is detected via biopsy, or indicated with a suddenly elevated PSA reading, this is surely a cause for alarm. Time (as in "watch and wait") is the enemy.

I have known several men in their 60s and early 70s who did not follow the sensible route when they had these types of symptoms, and they are all under the sod today.

As for my own experience with prostate cancer, I found the Internet to be a superb resource. My conclusions through research told me that surgery offered the best survival outcome. So I did that. There were some issues with the recovery, etc., but I am now back to a normal lifestyle, although fathering more children is not possible.

Thanks for letting me rant.

GARY MINAR

Solvang, Calif.

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I am 49 and was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. You do an incredible disservice to prostate cancer patients by preying on their fears that they will be impotent and wearing diapers if they undergo treatment, and encouraging them to wait while their cancers grow.

I don't understand why anyone would play with a loaded gun like cancer given the outstanding treatment options that are now available, such as nerve sparing robotic laparoscopic surgery, which is minimally invasive and far more precise than open surgery.

Skilled robotic surgeons are achieving much better success rates than the 30% average you mentioned, especially for younger patients with early stage cancers, and the recovery period is less than two weeks.

Why didn't you mention this option?

JAMES MADDOX

Los Angeles

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