I've just finished reading this new book. In a word, it's awesome!
I believe this book will be a game changer for many patients, both newly diagnosed and veterans.
It was published in August with the full title "Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers -- No More Unnecessary Biopsies, Radical Treatment Or Loss of Sexual Potency. It's by Ralph H. Blum, a prostate cancer survivor and noted author, and Dr. Mark Scholz, MD, a well-known medical oncologist whose practice has specialized in prostate cancer for the past fifteen years.
It offers a broad view of strategies for dealing with prostate cancer as well as many valuable insights into coping with the prostate cancer experience. The format is a dual track, with Dr. Scholz writing about half the chapters and his patient, Ralph Blum, writing the remainder. While it is packed with current and leading edge, highly expert thinking and information about the disease, it is also an easy and entertaining read. I particularly like Mr. Blum's sense of humor, something that comes through on many pages. (He does not pull any punches either. Despite going for cryosurgery to a doctor who is very high on Dr. Scholz's list, Blum is thoroughly spooked by the pre-op briefing and says to hell with this, walking away and not coming back. I imagine there might be one or two of us who can identify with that!
There are a number of special strong points. Perhaps most prominent is the powerful emphasis on doing what is wise in the circumstances, which often means avoiding unnecessary
treatment and even biopsies.
This involves a lot of important information about active surveillance. However, this emphasis is balanced by advice to get on with biopsies and treatment when that is wise.
Another special strong point is the attention to androgen deprivation therapy, also known as hormonal therapy or hormonal blockade therapy, or in this book as TIP, which stands for Testosterone Inactivating Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Scholz is one of the foremost experts in this field, and the book covers a multitude of key facts, insights and tips. Moreover, Ralph Blum, though successful with active surveillance for a long period, underwent a period of triple hormonal therapy, which he writes about in several chapters. It is especially meaningful that Dr. Scholz has now prominently endorsed TIP as a legitimate first line therapy option for many men, even men with low-risk disease.
While the book devotes enough attention to the various therapy options, even including a chapter on quack approaches, another special strong point is its attention to medical imaging. There's a chapter on "Nikola Tesla's Mgical Myster Machine," which is actually about endo rectal MRI and spectroscopy. There's a chapter on color Doppler ultrasound, which is particularly welcome as that topic is not extensively covered in other leading books, such as "A Primer On Prostate Cancer" and "Beating Prostate Cancer: Hormonal Therapy & Diet." (The text on active surveillance is also more extensive than is available elsewhere.) There's a chapter on Combidex, the extremely accurate but nearly unavailable imaging technology for lymph nodes.
Another strength is the information and insights about side effects and how to counter them, especially side effects from TIP, an area in which Dr. Scholz, a leading expert, gives us priceless advice.
Other welcome topics are also well covered, such as the relationship of insulin and prostate cancer, the immune system, and prostate cancer as a wake up call to our general health.
The reader who absorbs all this information will be in a far better position to make treatment and strategy decisions for dealing with his case. This impact on our analysis and decision making ability for prostate cancer is another extraordinary strength of this book.
The book has an excellent recommended bibliography with comments on the strengths of the books (and, if you read between the lines, their shortcomings). For folks like me that like to know the research behind the statements, the book is well footnoted, with a chapter containing all the footnoted references. The index is also excellent.
I believe this book will quickly take its place with the Primer and "Beating Prostate Cancer: Hormonal Therapy & Diet." In my opinion all three belong in our personal libraries.
I expect others of us will want to comment on what the book has meant to them and perhaps to raise questions about some of the issues, but I wanted to share my excitement with this post. I expect to include some specific high points in future posts on this thread, but I'll just say for now that I learned a number of points that will help me with my own case.
Thanks to Mr. Blum and Dr. Scholz for giving us this awesome book!