My Prostate Cancer

In 2008 I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. As I educated myself about the disease and later underwent treatments, I decided to share what I learned with the 250,000 men who receive this diagnosis every year — all from a patient’s perspective.

I segmented the documentary into eight episodes of seven or eight minutes each, so total length is just under 60 minutes. The link below will take you to the play list, which will play them in order. They look better in HD.

If you want to watch them over a period of a couple days, just come back to my blog ( and after starting the video hit the “YouTube” button at the bottom of the video. This takes you to my channel where you can pick whichever episode you want to watch (and read older posts if you want).

Please share the series with anyone you think might be interested in this subject. If you have a moment and want to comment, feel free.

Everything Reminds me of Something Else

An important part of this documentary is the report that was put out by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force. This report questioned the necessity for screening for prostate cancer and flew in the face of what was then the conventional wisdom.

This seems to be happening a lot lately. The most recent example of this was the report that Teeth Flossing might be unnecessary. The news broke when the latest dietary guidelines for Americans dropped prior recommendations for flossing. Somebody realized that they’d never fully researched it’s effectiveness.

The American Academy of Periodontology acknowledged that most current evidence doesn’t prove much because researchers had not been able to include enough participants or “examine gum health over a significant amount of time.”

Say what? I have never had a dentist that didn’t tell me with 100% sincere confidence that flossing my teeth was going to save me a lot of trouble in the future and only a fool wouldn’t do it. I’ve even read that if you floss you will live longer — a lot longer, like six years!

I do it at least once a day, often twice and on my biannual visits receive compliments on my routine. You can be pretty sure your dentist is still going to encourage it, but it surprised the hell out of me that nobody ever fully checked this out.

Remember how eating eggs was going to kill you because they had a lot of cholesterol in them? Well, the latest information is that it isn’t clear to what extent the cholesterol that you eat raises cholesterol in your blood. For years researchers have attempted to link the two but with very little success.

And then there’s drinking. True, drinking too much will do damage, but recent research shows that lifelong moderate drinking can ward off cognitive decline and improve brain function. This was reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease where in a study of 489 women, moderate drinkers scored higher than the abstinent or heavy drinking ones on cognitive function tests. One thing that hasn’t changed though is how hard it is to know what “moderate” is.


7 thoughts on “My Prostate Cancer

  1. Bob McColl

    Joe: Thank you for your excellent videos!! I watched all 8. I’m 77, recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, by 12-core biopsy, with Gleeson Scores of 6(3+3), another two similar 6’s and a 4th reading of 7(3+4). PSA is 16-18 range. I’m tempted to do nothing, at my age. I feel like 40 or 50, except for urinary incontinence problems. I was thinking, however, of having a prostate MRI done. I’m not sure you covered these… I’m a little confused at this point, but learning. Thanks again. WR McColl, Phoenix, AZ 602-943-1200

    1. Joe Nolan Post author

      I’m glad you found them helpful. I am planning to add an episode to add info on the MRI, which I didn’t cover in my series. Another thing I’d like to better understand is the new genetic tests that are available that try to measure how aggressive one’s cancer is. From the literature I read, they can use the tissue already collected from prior biopsies. Here’s a link where you can read about those:

      All the best of luck to you as you make your way through this difficult health challenge.

      1. Bob McColl

        Thank you for your reply, Joe… I’ll look forward to your info on the MRI. And the genetic tests could be very valuable. Incidentally, do you have a bio on the Web? You do a great job with these videos… I’m wondering whether you are in the medical field. Thanks for your good wishes. Bob

  2. Joe Nolan Post author

    I am not in the medical field. I wanted to make a documentary of my experiences as a prostate cancer patient and what I learned along the way. Not medical advice in any way, shape, manner or form.

    1. Bob McColl

      Hi Joe. Thanks again for the response. My field was engineering and we are known for asking a lot of detailed questions. We have to be careful not to bug people. You’re doing a great service for people, and I know that you are not giving medical advice in any form. By the way, I went through the ucsf information; very interesting. This is a result of the gene mapping “genome” projects of some 20 years ago. I expect this technology to save lives. I hope they make it affordable and that insurance will help bring it to the public. Thank you… Bob McColl

  3. JJ

    Prostate cancer screening and early detection does NOT save men’s lives. In my opinion. Let’s do the math. Per the USPSTF (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force): “A small benefit and known harms from prostate cancer screening” and “Only one man in 1,000 could possibly have a life saving benefit from screening”. However about 1.3 to 3.5 deaths per 1,000 from prostate blind biopsies. Also 5 men in 1000 died and 20.4% had one or more complications within 30 days of a prostatectomy. This does not include deaths and injuries from other procedures, medical mistakes, increased suicide rate, ADT therapy complications, heart attracts, depression, etc, caused by prostate cancer screening and treatments. Detection and overtreatment for prostate cancer has killed or destroyed millions of men’s lives worldwide from understated and multiple undisclosed side effects. The doctor that invented the PSA test, Dr. Richard Ablin now calls it: “The Great Prostate Mistake”, “Hoax” and “A Profit Driven Public Health Disaster”.

    My story:

    Recommended books:
    The Great Prostate Hoax by Richard Ablin MD (the inventor of the PSA test)
    The Big Scare, The Business of Prostate Cancer by Anthony Horan MD.

    1. Joe Nolan Post author

      I looked at your page and see you and I went down similar paths at about the same time. Too bad for us. I think the thinking was changing right around then about PSA’s and what to do about them. I’m not sure you saw my videos on this because something happened with my youtube account. But if you did, you saw that I indeed have misgivings about the route I took (radiation), and when I did it. I say that if I could do it again, I’d go with watchful waiting. But I still believe there’s a place for the PSA test, and as I say in my video, don’t freak out if it’s a little high. Now a higher PSA leads to better, more reliable tests and then to an MRI to see what’s what before needling the prostate for biopsies. At any rate, I’m doing fine. If you get any kind of treatment for prostate cancer, it’s gonna cost ya, no matter what they say. Science keeps changing and hopefully getting better at helping us. All the best to you.


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