A new and balanced guidebook to all the possible options


The majority of books on prostate cancer — for the newly diagnosed and for the patient with progressive disease — come with a particular point of view about one form of treatment or another … even when they do carefully mention all of the options. It is one of the reasons why The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink tends to “pass” on the opportunity to review and comment on most new books.

Dr. Gerry Chodak, however, is a little unusual. Yes, he is a urologist by training, and yes he does, therefore, still tend to think like a surgeon, but …

  • He was an advocate for the “non-treatment” of carefully selected patients through active monitoring as long ago as the late 1980s.
  • It was in his office that the formative idea for the first prostate cancer support organization — now Us TOO International — was brought to life, back in 1990.
  • He has always been a wonderful communicator — whether lecturing to his peers or talking to individual patients and their partners.
  • He is the developer of the patient educational web site ProstateVideos.com, with an extensive range of brief videos on nearly every aspect of prostate cancer and other prostatic disorders.
  • Through “Chodak on Urology” on the Medscape web site, he is a regular commentator on developments in prostate cancer and other aspects of urology for the medical community.

Last year he decided to put together his own book on prostate cancer — a book that did not present one point of view, but sought to give unbiased insight into all of the options that patients themselves consider, and written in such a way that the pros and cons of all of those options are clearly and simply laid out.

Winning the Battle Against Prostate Cancer was published late in December last year. On the back cover, Ed Kaps — one of the original founders and a former president and chairman of Us TOO — is quoted as follows:

I am a 42-year prostate cancer survivor and have read many books pertaining to prostate cancer. This book is the most comprehensive and extensive book I have ever read. I would recommend reading this book no matter what stage you happened to be at the present time.

The book covers the complete gamut of possibilities — from what you can try to do to prevent prostate cancer in your 30s and after to what you need to do when it becomes apparent that every possible treatment option for late stage disease has been exhausted.

There will be plenty of people who disagree with how Dr. Chodak presents the individual options. Talking about high-intensity ultrasound (HIFU), for example, he writes:

Men followed for less than 10 years may appear to be doing well after HIFU not because the treatment was effective but rather because their cancer was not dangerous. Without longer follow-up [than we have to date] or better studies, you will not know what to expect from HIFU.

That probably won’t make the HIFU advocates happy. But he also writes,

Hopefully, more information [about HIFU] will become available in the next few years.

We, of course, need to state our conflicts of interest. We have known Gerry Chodak for more than 20 years. He has been a strong supporter of The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink since it was brought back to life in 2008. He asked the current writer to comment on some of the chapters in the book during its development. And we agree with him on a very fundamental point: good medical decisions need to be based, to the greatest possible extent, on good scientific data. Often, in prostate cancer, there are no (or at best few) good data. This can make decisions difficult … but when there are good data, follow the data.

Winning the Battle Against Prostate Cancer is a book that we shall be using as a “baseline” during the next year or so. We shall ask ourselves regularly whether new data actually take us beyond what we find in its pages. If other users are as impressed by this book as Ed Kaps, we should be able to look forward to a second edition about two or three years from now.

2 Responses

  1. I have just placed my order and will read this ASAP. Having met Dr. Chodak at a Prostate Cancer International event, I know he is a true gentleman and a great speaker. I applaud Dr. Chodak’s “conservative” approach to treating prostate cancer and that, I bet, is something he would consider ironic, considering he has been talking about watchful waiting long enough that when he started doing so, some would have considered it probably a radical viewpoint (also considering that I have met doctors today who still think active surveillance is radical). Thanks for this post, and thank you to Dr. Chodak for his decades of service to prostate cancer survivors.

  2. It’s probably worth noting that Dr. Chodak is also a regular contributor to the Us TOO International monthly publication “HotSheet.” His article “Dr. Chodak’s Bottom Line” is one of the highlights I look for when I receive my supply of them for our Las Vegas Us TOO Chapter. Here is a link to sample of January’s publication.

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