1826 Days: A Reflection on Anniversaries


Anniversaries mark the progression (if not progress) of our life’s journey.  Birthdays are the most obvious.  If we’re married, wedding anniversaries are another.  And if we’re parents, the birthdays of our children. There are darker anniversaries as well.  Spouses who remember the day their lifetime partner died.  Or the day a brother or sister died. […]

Let’s Move to Movember


Sometimes it seems as if every week or month is dedicated to raising awareness of a particular cancer. It can be difficult–if not impossible–to keep them all straight. The American Cancer Society’s website even has a “Cancer Awareness Calendar.” [1] March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, as well as […]

What New Product Rollouts Taught Me About Obamacare


I spent my 35-year career marketing test systems called Automatic Test Equipment (ATE), which are machines used by electronics manufacturers to test semiconductors and printed circuit boards. ATE consists of highly complex hardware and software systems, and a single test system costs anywhere from $100,000 to upwards of $1,000,000. These machines have been used to […]

Men Resisting Recommendation to Skip PSA Test


In May 2012 the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a statement advising against prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing to screen for prostate cancer. In March 2013, Consumer Reports echoed the USPSTF in a cover article that claimed that the benefits of PSA testing did not outweigh its risks. In the prostate cancer community, these recommendations […]

What’s in a Name? Redefining “Cancer”


The word “cancer” is often accompanied by other words–“dread” and “fear” among them.  Ulysses S. Grant died of throat cancer (possibly related to all the cigars he smoked) in 1885. Newspapers described his slow, agonizing demise in lurid detail (much of it fabricated), including words such as “horror” and “revulsion” in their highly sensationalist copy.[1] […]

“Shared Decision Making:” Good in Theory. Less Good in Practice.


In May, the American Urological Association (AUA) attempted to silence its critics–including the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the American Cancer Society (ACS)–by abandoning its longtime recommendation of universal PSA testing of all men older than 40 to screen for prostate cancer. But since its constituency is, after all, urologists, it avoided […]

Their Unwitting Sacrifice

1 in 1000

Last week, at their conference in San Diego, the American Urological Association (AUA) released its “Early Detection of Prostate Cancer: AUA Guideline.”[1]  The document began by introducing its purpose and audience: “This guideline addresses prostate cancer early detection for the purpose of reducing prostate cancer mortality with the intended user as the urologist.” In other […]

Longer Lives: But At What Cost?


A major front on the war on cancer has been development of life-extending pharmaceuticals.  In the four years since my prostate cancer diagnosis, new drugs such as Zytiga and Xtandi have been released, each extending the life an end stage cancer patient an average of four to six months. And others–such as Alpharadin–are quickly moving toward […]

PSA Testing: More Harm than Benefit?


The bad news for prostate cancer screening advocates began last summer when the United States Preventive Task Force (USPSTF) gave the PSA test a grade of “D,” stating that the risks inherent in PSA screening outweigh the benefits. The March 2013 issue of Consumer Reports (CR) deals a fresh blow to prostate cancer advocates who promote PSA […]