Courtland Milloy is an African-American journalist in Washington, DC. Recently, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Mr. Milloy is a columnist who has written — on and off — about prostate cancer over the years. His “take” had generally been that he didn’t “get” what all the fuss was about. Get regular PSA tests; get over your emotional distaste for the idea of a digital rectal exam; and get on with life. If you get diagnosed and you need to be treated, get treated.
He followed his own advice regarding regular tests. Then he got diagnosed with low-risk disease ….
Courtland Milloy’s column on his reactions to his diagnosis is available on the Washington Post web site today. It will sound familiar to the vast majority of men who have received the same piece of news. However practical, however macho, however pragmatic you have been about life before you get that particular piece of news, it is all too easy for one’s brain to turn into mush and for one’s emotional responses to “take over.”
We would like to think that The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink represents an exception to Mr. Milloy’s statement that men should “Rely on the Internet at your own risk.” However, given what we see on many web sites, he is most certainly correct. On the other hand, we also get the impression that Mr. Milloy may have made the decision to have surgery without conducting a complete analysis of his options.
The lesson here is a simple one. Dealing with prostate cancer is not the same as thinking (or writing) about it in the abstract. A diagnosis of prostate cancer challenges everything men value about being male. No man should be surprised by the fact that working through the decision processes that are asked of him after that diagnosis may be one of the hardest things he ever has to deal with.