The Decision: Your prostate biopsy shows cancer... Now What?
by Dr. John C. McHugh
Jennie Cooper Press

"The newly diagnosed prostate cancer patient... needs to know what is pertinent and specific to him in making a decision on how to treat it."

A urologist, McHugh, was inspired to write this informative book after he developed prostate cancer and dealt with treatment options as a patient. Part guidebook, part autobiography, it is intended for men who are facing the often perplexing choices of potential treatments.

McHugh encourages men to begin regular rectal and prostate examinations in middle age, and cites examples of patients who developed cancer well before age 50. The 'big three' examinations that he recommends are a test for Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), the rectal exam, and a biopsy report. The author uses various charts, including a "McHugh Decision Worksheet," that surveys a man in ten categories to help him to determine if he is a "radiation type," a "surgery type," or "undecided." Diagrams illustrate and define the different types of prostate cancer, specific locations of cancer within the prostate, the options for treatment, and each option's likely effects and side effects.

The doctor describes many of his personal experiences as a patient, for example "I did not get good vibes from the urologist I spoke to initially in Atlanta... he repeated, an inordinate amount of times, how many of the procedures he had performed. ... Remember, a lot of this decision process [for the patient] is a gut feel." Ultimately, McHugh found the surgeon he used through the recommendation of a visiting pharmaceutical representative.

"Prostate stories" and more of McHugh's autobiography complete the book. The Decision is recommended for its combination of empirical tools, personal anecdotes, and overall compassion.

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