For those of you who are regular readers and have read the previous posts, you can skip this first paragraph.This is the latest installment in my occasional series about how I'm adjusting to living with a big C in my life. For those of you who aren't, here's a quick summary. I'm 49 years old and I recently had a prostate biopsy following two "slightly high" PSA tests - 2.8 & 4.1. The biopsy took ten tissue samples and one of these showed a "low grade cancer" which gives me a 3+3 on the Gleason scale. I'm now on a program of active monitoring. In early February, I got the results of the latest PSA test - down to 3.5 and an MRI scan which found absolutely nothing. I've no symptoms and sadly for a few people, if I'm gonna die soon, it won't be from Prostate cancer. Got the picture?
Yesterdays Daily Mail seemed rather keen to start a debate on whether we should be denied treatment if we brought about a requirement for treatment through our own behaviour - There are incontrovertible medical reasons for restricting treatment to obese patients and smokers - doubtless as part of its moralistic right wing agenda. I don't buy the Mail, won't have it in the house, but a friend rang to ask my opinion on the agenda they are persuing. Like most Daily Mail campaigns, it is nasty and mean minded. The most worrying thing is to ask where this "denial of treatment" ends. Should we not treat people with VD, because they weren't careful enough. Should we not treat people with Cancer because they didn't eat their nine portions of veg a day. Should we not treat Downes Syndrome people because their parents should have spared the public purse and had an abortion?
As I write this, I'm in exruciating pain. I've been having to take breaks from writing it, to lie on the floor. What is causing the pain? I've had a long standing back problem, caused by breaking two ribs when I was sixteen. You may ask how I broke two ribs? When I was sixteen, I went to a party. I met a nice girl there who was my age. I snogged her. Her brother who was eighteen, caught me in the process and with three of his mates, beat seven bells out of me. I broke two ribs in my back and have sporadic periods of back pain ever since. Generally a trip to the Osteopath sorts it out, which is where I am off to tomorrow. So is my injury one which I should have to pay for the treatment for. If I'd been more careful I'd not have got caught. Alcohol played a big part in the whole affair. If I hadn't have drunk so much, I'd probably not have ended up in the situation.
And more seriously, what about my cancer. I asked what diet changes I should make, to reduce the risk of the cancer spreading? Cut out the dairy produce. I used to drink copious amounts of milk, eat eggs all the time and I loved my cheese. Did this make me responsible for "catching cancer?". In the law, ignorance is no defence. I was also overweight. Diet changes and more exercise have seemingly had a good effect so far, with the PSA lower at last check. The only problem is that the exercise has irritated my knees (and possibly my back). So am I to be liable for these as well?
If treatment is to be rationed, who decides why and when. Who decides what is fair? The Daily Mail thinks we need to have a debate. I think the Daily Mail should F*** off