White Coat Underground

Imus—synonym for “stupid”

I’ve written a number of times how blindingly stupid and irresponsible Deirdre Imus has been. Now, Don Imus has revealed he has prostate cancer, and he is apparently surprised. According to ABC News, “he was surprised by the diagnosis because he had been following a healthy diet for the last decade.” He also stated that, “… it was all the stress that caused this.”

I’m not nearly as surprised as Mr. Imus. Prostate cancer is the malignancy most closely correlated with age (and of course, gender) and estimates are that between 14-70 % of men his age may have prostate cancer (occult or apparent). As to his healthy lifestyle, studies have failed to show any strong correlations between prostate cancer and “lifestyle”. One of the largest studies to date on dietary supplements and prostate cancer (SELECT) failed to show any reduction in prostate cancer with vitamin E and selenium supplementation.

Imus’s surprise at his diagnosis is a common feeling. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, they often feel the world falling away around them. It doesn’t really matter if it’s a “good” or a “bad” cancer–the emotional effect is usually the same. So, Imus’s surprise doesn’t, er, surprise me.

Hopefully (and I’m not counting on this, mind you), he will do a little reading and communicate to the public the facts about prostate cancer. It is a disease of age, and it is often said that any man who lives long enough will have it. It is also often said that most men will die with it rather than from it. Still, it is an important cause of morbidity and mortality, and since we don’t have a great way to screen for it (meaning we don’t know what PSA results necessarily mean) more research is being done.

But the little devil on my shoulder can’t help wondering if, like Mrs. Imus, he will bring the stupid. I wonder if he will opt for “alternative” therapy, and when his cancer doesn’t kill him, give credit to the herbs rather than to the fact that most prostate cancers won’t kill you.

By the way, you can start reading about prostate cancer here.

Comments

  1. #1 Russell
    March 17, 2009

    Why read about it? As you point out, there’s little we can do to prevent it, no good way to screen for it, it mostly won’t kill you, except when it does, and if the doctors find it they will either scratch their heads and say they want to watch you for a few years, or will recommend a treatment that either has partial success or a treatment that sucks.

    Feh.

  2. #2 D. C. Sessions
    March 17, 2009

    if the doctors find it they will either scratch their heads and say they want to watch you for a few years, or will recommend a treatment that either has partial success or a treatment that sucks

    A treatment that sucks? Dying sucks. Losing a (very) small part of my life as the price of being around to see my grandchildren grow up? In a heartbeat, Dude.

  3. #3 Marilyn Mann
    March 17, 2009

    Nice Washington Post article today, quoting Steven Salzberg and Steven Novella:

    “Critics Object to ‘Pseudoscience’ Center”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/16/AR2009031602139.html?hpid=topnews

  4. #4 Moopheus
    March 17, 2009

    “estimates are that between 14-70 % of men his age may have prostate cancer”

    Is that what you meant to say? That seems like kind of a wide range. Might as well say, we don’t have any idea, except we know it happens.

  5. #5 Aaron Golas
    March 17, 2009

    Maybe he’ll just decide to refuse the diagnosis.

  6. #6 PalMD
    March 17, 2009

    The number 14-70 is from a review of autopsy studies…

    The cdc’s prostate cancer page can tell you the actual prevalence and incidence in living people.

  7. #7 Kim
    March 17, 2009

    I’ve noticed people airing that sort of thinking (“how did this cancer occur, the patient has a healthy lifestyle”) quite a bit lately. I don’t think the population as a whole has a good grasp of the idea that not everything is preventable at all times.

  8. #8 D. C. Sessions
    March 17, 2009

    I don’t think the population as a whole has a good grasp of the idea that not everything is preventable at all times.

    They don’t want to believe that Shit Can Happen To Them. There’s a whole book on the subject: Job.