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PLEASE NOTE: For those that subscribe to receive a hard copy of the Hot SHEET newsletter, there will be a delay in receiving the publication. We apologize for the delay but, due to Illinois' shelter in place policy related to coronavirus, we cannot safely gather in order to distribute the physical copies. We do have the prints ready and will get them to you as soon as it is deemed safe to do so. We appreciate your understanding. The digital version, however, is available here...
Welcome to the
April 2020 issue of the Hot SHEET.
As usual, you’ll find articles selected from the extensive worldwide literature addressing prostate cancer. That is one of the few things that is business as usual during the COVID 19 pandemic affecting all of us. I am proud to say that the Us TOO staff is working remotely to serve you as seamlessly as possible. You can continue to reach all of us through email or by leaving any of us a voicemail. Simply call the main number, 630-795-1002, choose the person you wish to reach, and leave them a message. The PCa Support HelpLine, 800-808-7866, is also operating during usual business hours: 9am-5pm, Central Daylight Time.
Below is an excerpt of an essay I wrote reflecting on prostate cancer and life during, and after, the pandemic
This Changes Everything and This Too Shall Pass: Reflections on COVID-19 and Prostate Cancer
COVID-19 infected two young health care workers who cared for patients in China. Young mothers Deng Danjing and Xia Sisi both became ill. Ms. Deng lived and Dr. Xia died. The lives of their families and friends will never be the same. This is obvious for Dr. Xia’s family and friends: Her husband lost his wife. Her child lost their mother. Though Ms. Deng recovered from the disease, she and her family will remember COVID-19, and the trauma it wreaked on them, for the rest of their lives.
Just over 11 years ago, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. That truly changed everything. For a while, and permanently. After successful surgery, I am thriving as a survivor. Not all survivors are so lucky. I thank my lucky stars and my God every day. My mother always told me, "This Too Shall Pass." I know prostate cancer may recur. Still. In my daily life, my prostate cancer has passed. My diabetes affects my health far more than my prostate cancer: I exercise, have lost over 50 pounds, and take four pills a day to keep my diabetes under good control. For prostate cancer, I have my PSA test and DRE every year as part of my physical exam. That’s it.
Many others have been more deeply affected by prostate cancer. I have met men whose lives were far more damaged by the disease and/or its treatment. I have met the families of men who lost their struggles with prostate cancer. I count my blessings every day that prostate cancer is a relatively small, though permanent, part of my life. In time, something else will kill me. I too shall pass.
Like SARS, MERS, and Ebola, COVID-19 will be defeated. Eventually. And in much of the world. (Ebola kills people in Africa today. We just don’t hear about it unless we listen carefully). This coronavirus will then fade from the headlines and from most of our memories. For Ms. Deng, Dr. Xia’s family, and others directly affected by the pandemic, life will never be the same. For many of us, life will return to normal. We will forget about the disease, the heroic efforts of public health workers worldwide, and the interconnectedness we share on this very small planet. Until the next time.
Someday, prostate cancer itself shall pass into the dustbin of history. Until then Us TOO will use its power to help
men, and those who love them, by transforming resignation into determination and fear into hope
: The diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer has advanced significantly in the 11 years since my own diagnosis and treatment. The use of active surveillance, MRI guided biopsies, and new chemotherapy agents are among the important gains. This series focuses on my personal prostate cancer journey. It will also note some of the changes since then. Finally, it will include steps you, your patients, or your loved ones might take to fight prostate cancer more effectively and appropriately.
Shalom. Salaam. Peace.