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Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers: An Essential Guide to Managing Prostate Cancer for Patients and Their Families [Paperback]

Ralph H. Blum , Mark Scholz
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 Aug 2011
Radical prostatectomy is still the most widely recommended treatment for prostate cancer. Yet, according to a recent study, only one out of every forty-eight men who undergo this debilitating procedure survives longer than those who forgo surgery. Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers reports the latest thinking on prostate cancer management in clear, easy-to-understand prose. In a unique collaboration, a patient and his doctor provide a new perspective on living with this disease. Ralph Blum’s surprisingly entertaining twenty-year journey and eventual decision to treat his cancer as a “chronic condition,” together with Dr. Mark Scholz’s presentation of the newest scientific evidence, will liberate thousands of newly diagnosed men to pursue a noninvasive approach and thereby preserve normal sexual and urinary function.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 291 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press (NY); 1 edition (30 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590515153
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590515150
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 15.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 709,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Prostate Snatchers, published in August of 2010, is the best book I know of to help newly diagnosed men decide what to do about their prostate cancer (PCa). Co-written by one of the best medical oncologists specializing in PCa (MOSPC) in the USA, it's filled to the brim with gems of cutting-edge, authoritative information. Below are some of these gems, which, unfortunately, only a small minority of PCa patients have seen:

There is not one but three basic categories of PCa--Low-Risk, Intermediate-Risk, and High-Risk.

High-Risk, also known as "aggressive," should be treated aggressively whereas Low-Risk often can be safely managed with no treatment.

A typical scenario after a primary care doctor refers a patient to a urologist because of an abnormal PSA test and/or digital rectal examination (DRE): The urologist biopsies the patient's prostate and finds PCa. The patient views this finding as a death sentence, panics, and feels pressured to get rid of his cancer immediately. He avoids taking time for second opinions and agrees quickly to have the urologist cut out his entire prostate (radical prostatectomy or RP)--an aggressive treatment.

Unfortunately, of the 50,000 RPs done in the USA every year, more than 40,000 were not necessary. That is, the vast majority of PCa patients would have lived as long without having their prostates removed.

RP is no longer the most effective treatment for PCa. Radiation therapy (RT), another aggressive treatment, has evolved into being at least as effective. If the patient consults a radiation therapist for help with making a treatment decision, the doctor is often, of course, biased in favor of recommending RT.

A third type of PCa doctor is a medical oncologist.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars if you have prostate cancer you must read this! 14 Dec 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I cannot reccommend this book too highly!...If you have just had that dark news from the medics that you have prostate cancer, then before slavishly following their very partial advice, count to twenty, then read this friendly accesible and hugely informative book around the whole topic of prostate cancer. Then try to find a specialist or GP who can help you navigate the various options and treatments that are now available. With any serious medical condition I think as a patient the more informed you are the better you are able to become an active participant in your treatment and that can only help you through what can be a terrifying and grim experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent help in making decisions 2 Nov 2011
Oh to have a specialist as wise and knowledgeable as Mark Scholz! Everyone should read chapter 4 "Commuting the death sentence" in which the dangers of prostate cancer are put in perspective. Prostate cancer is atypical in generally being slow to develop and highly survivable. The key lies in finding out if you are at low, intermediate or high risk and taking appropriate action. The majority, at low risk, can avoid being panicked into unnecessary treatment.

The subtitle "No more unnecessary biopsies, radical treatment or loss of sexual potency" could be misleading though. The keyword here is "unnecessary". There is also the problem, especially for those dependent on the UK Health Service, of finding medics with the up to date views and equipment described in this book.

Don't think this is a relaxing read. Some of the stories in the book are quite scary; and that's just the ones from the doctor! Overall though this is a cracking book that, despite the offbeat title, is full of solid good sense.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must for any prostate cancer 'newbie' 16 Nov 2011
Any man weighing up prostate cancer treatment (or non treatment) options will soon find that there is a welter of information and advice available. Nay, more than that. He will be faced with an absolute overdose of often contradictory advice and opinion; and much of it proferred by outright snake oil salesmen

Chapters in the book are written alternately by a patient and by an oncologist and, while neither rejects conventional treatment out of hand, both clearly show that in many cases rapid and brutal radical intervention is not always in the patient's best interest

I have read several books during my past 8 years on 'active surveillance' and for me this one makes a lot of sense. These writers tell it like it is. They do not blindly regurgitate the standard cliches and views (usually edited carefully to eliminate all possibility of litigation)

I wish the book had been available back in 1964 or thereabouts when I was struggling to make sense of it all

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239 of 250 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thorough treatment to be used with caution 15 July 2010
By Robert J. Newell - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'll make my "full disclosure" at the end of this review, but for now, I'll just say that I did the best I could to read and review this book on its own merits rather than my own thoughts and opinions.

The title, "Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers," tells you at once where this book is coming from. Written in a very effective manner, alternating chapters between a patient and a doctor, the book's major thesis is that surgery or other radical intervention for prostate cancer is done, too often, too soon, and too indiscriminately.

The patient, Ralph Blum, has had low-risk prostate cancer for something like two decades and has been, as he says, a "Refusenik" when it comes to radical treatment. He did some hormone blockade therapy, and tried various forms of diet, natural remedies, etc. He is now age 75 and doing well, living with the cancer.

The doctor, Mark Scholz, is one of a rare breed of oncologist specialized in prostate cancer; as the book so clearly states, prostate cancer is usually the province of a urologist, who is also a surgeon, and hence pushes for immediate surgical intervention.

Certainly, the book's thesis has a lot of support in the modern medical community, some of whom even go so far as to say that even PSA tests (a simple blood test, and the most common screen for potential prostate cancer) are overdone, leading to too many biopsies which in turn lead to too much radical intervention.

The book talks in great detail about the side effects of radical intervention (surgery or radiation); about grades of prostate cancer; about options both usual and unusual; about hormone therapy; about diet and supplements; and much, much more. Throughout, the book pushes a very clear message: if you have a low-risk cancer, you can postpone radical intervention for a considerable amount of time, maybe for the rest of your life. "It's about quality of life" is what we hear again and again.

This book is likely the most complete and thorough treatment of the topic that I've ever read, and I've read a *lot* about prostate cancer.

So, if you are newly (or not so newly) diagnosed, or have rising PSA, should you (or your loved ones) rush out, buy this book, and follow its advice?

I say "no." My main reason has little to do with the book itself.

You should never rely on a single source, particularly one that has an agenda. Get all the facts you can. Get multiple opinions. Hear all sides of the story. And then, and only then, make an informed decision.

Another is that if you are looking for a reason to avoid radical intervention, this book will hand you everything you've ever wanted. One danger is that you stop there, short of looking at the issue from all sides. Another danger is not reading the book closely, and not distinguishing between low risk cancer and the higher risk forms. You should not play a potential game of "you bet your life" based on a single source book that gives you the answers you want. Alas, things are not simple in the world of prostate cancer, and you are going to have to do the hard work necessary to make good decisions about your care.

(This same argument applies, by the way, to just listening to the urologist's almost inevitable recommendation of surgery. Get multiple viewpoints before making such an important decision!)

Finally, although the book is rich, interesting, and filled with facts, there are some things that simply put me off. Co-author Ralph Blum (an author noted for his work on Runes and UFOs) describes, early in the book, how his wife, using a gold-tipped needle, drained out negative energy from his prostate through a point on his ear. Now, who am I to say whether there is something to this? But it did make me wonder.

And, Dr. Mark Scholz, the other co-author, makes the following incredible statement: "The prostate, however, has a strong capsule and a muscular structure surrounding it to compress and then fire its product, the sperm, at the intended target--- an unfertilized egg."

Perhaps this egregious error will be edited out in the final version, and there can't be any question that Dr. Scholz knows better (sperm is NOT produced by the prostate). But how on earth did this statement get in the book? And that makes me ask, what else is in here--- that is perhaps much more subtle--- that is also dead wrong?

I recommend this book if it is part of a group of readings intended to give a complete picture. I don't, however, recommend that you read this book and nothing else.

My full disclosure: I am a prostate cancer survivor. Together with my wife, we did extensive research and consultations, and determined that surgery was the right answer for my grade of cancer. We fully understood the potential side effects and were prepared for them. I did the surgery and we have never looked back. Yes, there have been side effects. One of them is the knowledge that the rest of my years are secured. That's the ultimate in quality of life.

What is right for me or someone else is *not* an argument for you to do the same. So, one last time I'll say, get the facts--- all the facts--- and make your decision on that basis.
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Advice? Or Not? 27 Jun 2010
By Federico (Fred) Moramarco - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As one who has experienced radiation seed implants as a treatment for prostate cancer and has been glad I made that choice, I'm probably not the most objective person to review this book. On the one hand, I agree with the authors that there are probably too many unnecessary prostate surgeries in this country, but on the other, there are also probably too many premature deaths from men who wait too long to take action. This book has the distinction of approaching the problem from both the doctor's and the patient's point of view. The authors express their perspectives in alternate chapters and while their conclusions are often qualified, the general thrust of the book is that less is more. This may or may not be so, depending on the individual case, but I'm afraid that the catchy commercial title as well as the bold subtitle (NO MORE UNNECESSARY BIOPSIES, RADICAL TREATMENT OR LOSS OF SEXUAL POTENCY) may discourage men who need treatment from seeking it. However, the book is lucid and well-written throughout, and if read carefully and with an open mind provides valuable information on the various options for the prostate patient. And the doctor/patient alternation is a model that more medical books should follow.
53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars honestly, my friend had already made up his mind 28 Sep 2010
By A. D. Cox - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I ordered this book to read for myself, and to share with my some very good friends of mine .... a couple, where the man has recently been diagnosed with stage one prostate cancer. I thought this book would be especially helpful to him, because he is so early in the progression of the cancerous cells, and his doctor reassured him that they are slow-growing. He'd already had the biopsy, though, and the doctor's recommendation was to either have the radiation with the "seed" implants, or to have surgery to remove the prostate. Now, it's important that I tell you, this doctor has a fine reputation, a long career, and is trusted here. He is also a personal friend of my friend, so I doubt the doc was telling him to go with these treatments just line the pockets of the medical staff. This doctor, with years of experience, and with his friend in mind, recommended surgery. So, my friend will have the surgery, and he wasn't interested in reading this book about alternative treatments and "living with" the cancer for years, slow-growing or not. He said he wants it out, and he wants to move on with his life, and that's that. He's made up his mind and he doesn't want to muddy the issue.

For people who have not already made a decision about treatment, who want to consider more options, who are afraid of the sexual side effects or the incontinence that can follow surgery, who don't want to go through radiation and suffer those side effects, this is a good book to review. It's a good book for those exploring options, reading with an open mind. A warning, though: don't get caught up in stupid conspiracy theories. The title is too inflammatory, too accusing. Read this in the way of the 12-Step Groups: "take what you want, and leave the rest." Find what is helpful or interesting to you, and ignore the rest. This is a resource, some more information and discussion on the issue, not the new gospel truth.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the most important book you'll ever read 4 Sep 2010
By Brian Smith - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers: No More Unnecessary Biopsies, Radical Treatment of Loss of Sexual Potency may turn out to be one of the most important books you will ever read. Frankly, this is not a book I would have picked up had I not been given the invitation to review it for Fortunately, for me, I was asked to review it. Prostate cancer is fairly common among men, particularly among African-American men. Within the past couple of years both my father and an uncle have had their prostates removed due to a diagnosis of cancer. I'm about to turn 50 and the chances of me being diagnosed with prostate cancer increase with each passing year (as they do for all men). I wish I had read this book before my father was diagnosed. My father suffered from minor complications from the surgery (as far as I know). My uncle nearly died from a problem with his surgery, major blood loss. Unfortunately, we're not the type of family to discuss this stuff in intimate details. And, the complications from prostate surgery gone wrong are pretty intimate. So, I will probably never know if they have long term complications. I do know my father suffered from the two most common complications for at least a while after his surgery. Those complications, temporary and permanent, are way too common for my taste.

The book is co-written by an oncologist who works with a lot of prostate cancer patients and a lay person who has lived with prostate cancer for 20 years. The cancer patient, Ralph Blum, has a great sense of humor and keeps the book light enough to be almost enjoyable reading. The book is packed with statistics and medical facts, as is necessary. But, the human side of coping with this disease is never forgotten.

Before reading the book, I realized that prostate cancer was generally a slow moving cancer. I had heard that most men diagnosed with prostate cancer in their 60s or 70s will die with the disease rather than from the disease. However, as I've been wondering how I'd deal with the diagnosis, I knew that my attitude would be a "just get it out of me" attitude. I don't want to live with prostate cancer, I want to get rid of it. I know, if I hadn't read this book, I would say "Just get it out of me. NOW!" I think that attitude is common among men. Another common thing for us to do when sitting across from an expert is to ask the question "Doc, what would you do?" I sat down with my uncle a few weeks ago and asked him to tell me a little about his experience. He told me that after the urologist confirmed his prostate cancer, he immediately said "OK, if you were me and you had just been told what I was just told, what would you do?" What I didn't realize, and I don't think a lot of men really think about is, a urologist is a surgeon. If you ask a surgeon what he would do and surgery is an option, what do you think he's most likely to say? While that seems to be a great question, the reality is it might just be the worst question you can ask if you are going to go solely on the advice of a urologist.

Prostate cancer can be divided into three types, low risk disease, medium risk disease and high risk disease. With current diagnostic methods, you can pretty much determine which type of cancer you have. Only if you have high risk disease do you need to be in any hurry to do any treatment at all. On the other end of the scale, low risk disease is probably best treated with "active surveillance". In other words, no radiation, no surgery, no chemicals, just monitoring it. The book describes treating this type of prostate cancer as a chronic condition and even goes so far as to say it might be better to come up with another name other than "cancer" because of the terrifying connotation of the word cancer. In the case of low risk prostate cancer, the cure is worse than the disease. Whether you go with surgery or radiation, the chances of permanent side effects like impotence and urinary incontinence are extremely high- shockingly so to me (and there are some other pretty bizarre complications that are possible). Even with the newer ways of doing radiation and with robotic surgery, the chances of permanent side effects are still pretty high. In most cases, the chances of those complications are much greater than the chance of actually dying from prostate cancer. When we hear cancer, I think most of us immediately think "death" and anything is better than death. So, when we hear there's say a 60% chance that we'll be impotent for at least 18 months after surgery, we might think "Better to be impotent than dead." But, what if you didn't have to be either?

Ralph was diagnosed at the age of 58. He's one of those guys who asked a bunch of questions before undergoing any procedure. Turns out, that was a good thing. In the 20 years since he was diagnosed, prostate cancer treatment has grown by leaps and bounds. He's had a few treatments over the years but nothing radical. He's had 20 good years with his wife because of his refusal to rush into treatment. Sure, there is a chance that if he had the surgery 20 years ago, he might have had a good outcome. But, the chances are greater today than they were than and he has more treatment options. The treatments available today weren't even thought of 20 years ago. One of the most important messages of this book is that, if you get a diagnosis of prostate cancer, time is actually on your side. The advances in treatment are growing at a rate faster than the disease in most men. For example, there are ways of blocking testosterone (fuel for prostate cancer) that virtually halts the disease in its tracks.

Hopefully, I won't need this book anytime soon. But, just in case I do, I'm going to keep it tucked away. There is a ton of information on different treatments, everything from the truly bizarre to the conventional to cutting edge advances. There is information on the right type of diet to eat should you be diagnosed. One thing I know for sure now, if and when I am diagnosed I don't intend to panic and rush into surgery or radiation therapy or even a biopsy. And, I won't ask a urologist "What would you do?" I recommend that every man over the age of 40 read this book and get informed about prostate cancer. If there's a type of cancer you do want to have, this is the one. It's important to make sure that you don't make a mistake and opt for a treatment that is actually worse than the disease. For any man in your life that's really important to you, this book would make an excellent gift.
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting, Helpful Study 27 Jun 2010
By Addison Dewitt - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Since this reader is of the age where prostate problems can arise, Scholz and Blum's "Invasion" is something that I wanted to read about so that I would be better equipped if and when something might happen to my own.

Not only is this book a valuable resource for those going through prostate issues, it could almost be described as "Required Reading" by any male over the age of 30. Men usually don't want to think about any problems with their equipment, much less spend any time reading a book that deals with the subject in-depth. But Blum's personal history with non-aggressive prostate cancer reveals not only the mental toll such a condition can take, but the various directions and decisions that a man can make regarding his own health. Most helpful of all, however, is the important lesson we all must learn about health issues: Take control of your health decisions and make them with the help of a caring, non-controlling, informed doctor. It's your body, not theirs, and YOU have to live with whatever is decided by BOTH of you, they don't.

Blum is among the lucky few who have an open-minded doctor at his side and this book reveals how thousands (millions?) of men leave the difficult decision of removing their prostate (and other ill-informed surgeries) to wrong-headed urologists when actually leaving it intact may turn out to be the best decision possible.

Scholz and Blum show how the busine$$ of Urologists is surgery and the busine$$ of Radiologists is radiation therapy. Therefore, consult a surgeon, and voila, the best decision according to them is... you guessed it, surgery!

Doctors are often WRONG and this book points that fact out again and again. The book also reveals how doctors are often self-consumed, ego-maniacs who think they are infallible. And this can spell trouble for the unsuspecting male patient who puts their naive trust in the hands of someone who removes prostates for a living.

The book runs through the gamut of various therapies and each is described in detail from both the doctor's (Scholz) and the patient's (Blum) viewpoint, giving the reader a rare opportunity to go through the process vicariously at a safe distance way from hospitals and sparkling new $urgery wing$.

For some, the reading may be technical and somewhat boring, but I found even the hard parts to be necessary in order to make the book whole. I highly recommend this book for any man over the age of 30.
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