Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer
a man whistles while he walks under the legs of an enormous elephant

Need A Break?

If you have been treated for prostate cancer like I have been, you probably visit a urologist or radiation oncologist on a regular basis.

Let’s not go there

After being poked and probed for a few years, I gradually found myself avoiding routine annual physical exams. Deep down in the depths of my male mind, I reasoned, “Enough is enough”. Who really needs a wellness visit or preventative health appointment after you have beaten cancer?

Not seeing a GP was my choice. The independence of not going gave me a feeling of control. While keeping on top of regular prostate cancer check-ups was needed, avoiding additional medical visits also offered a sense of freedom. I consoled myself with the knowledge that I was seeing a doctor every 6 months so why add another level of frustration. Like every male, I knew everything was ok and it would be fine to let minor health things slide for a while.

Superman meets kryptonite

All was going well until I couldn’t turn my head one morning. A self-diagnosis revealed a very large but unnoticed lump next to my windpipe. The dreaded appointment was made with the GP who, following an examination, suggested it was most likely an infected lymph node and treatment was to be a round of antibiotics. As a precaution, a large needle biopsy along with a CAT scan was ordered and fortunately, the results confirmed that it was not cancer. It was suggested by him and my wife that had it been caught earlier; the biopsy may not have been needed. So much for avoiding routine check-ups.

The unexpected wake-up call prompted me to speak with other men in our prostate cancer education and support group. Turns out I was not alone in wanting to avoid routine health visits following prostate cancer treatment. I reasoned if a few men in this group were also avoiding “unneeded” visits, chances were good many others were in the same boat.

What’s my normal now?

Following any significant medical procedure, the tendency is to want a break. That break however innocent can put a prostate cancer warrior like me and perhaps you at risk. Following cancer treatments, I experienced fatigue, weight gain and loss of energy to name a few. Depending on the treatment it’s possible to face bone and muscle loss along with heart issues and more.

Slowly I began to realize that avoiding regular visits cut me off from several benefits. Regular visits with my MD for a wellness check actually gave me an opportunity to have an in-depth conversation about my changing health. I was also missing out on valuable information like what might be going on with my height, weight, heart rate, blood pressure and more. By not going I was also routinely missing out on the advantages of keeping him informed.

You can’t take a break from your health

I was not keeping him engaged in my personal health. My MD probably sees hundreds of patients a month making it easy for him to lose track of me. It’s in my best interest to keep in touch and stay involved. For me going through cancer treatment and beating it (so far) created a hidden elephant in the room. The lesson I wanted to pass on…it’s not always best to take that much needed medical break.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The ProstateCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Will Jones moderator
    7 days ago

    I had a routine check up last week because I needed to get established with a new Physician’s Assistant. I made a vow not long ago, after cancer and heart issues, to say “no” to more tests, immunizations, medicines, etc., than were absolutely necessary. My annual tests with my cardiologist and urologist keep me up to date with my health. But it’s important for me not to ignore serious symptoms, or even hints of symptoms. Too much at stake. Caution is one thing, ignorance is another.

  • scottshelton
    1 week ago

    Prostate cancer is one of those that can spread…matasis…matasasic…any way, a little attempt at levity….I saw my oncologist this morning. My hip is better, but it has spread to my rib cage. I caught my cancer late, and i am paying for it. don’t wait. Go to the doctor.

  • Dennis Golden moderator author
    7 days ago

    Sorry to learn the cancer has spread. That said I am aware of a few folks who are in a similar situation. They are still going strong and have been doing so for many years.

    At one of our meetings a participant took off his shoe and then his sock. He held his bare foot up so we could see the bottom.

    He then asked if any of us saw an expiration date printed on the bottom of that foot. We said NO and laughed. He added, “Neither do I and am not going to live like there was one printed there”. He gave all of us a very powerful message. I silently thank him every day for that bit of inspiration.

    Prostate cancer is not one disease. It hits us all in different ways and none of us can predict the outcome.

    Best to do what you are doing – keep living and inspiring others to get checked often and early. More men and their partners need to hear your message.

    Today over 60% of men do not schedule regular check ups. No surprise we die years earlier than women who are much better at scheduling routine exams and speaking up when they visit an MD office.

    ” Silence is not a cure when it comes to prostate cancer.”

    … Dennis(ProstateCancer.net TEAM)

  • Clark
    1 week ago

    I definitely hear what you are saying. I was almost ready to stop for a while when I was just four years out from an RP. But then my PSA started to climb again and within a year it was enough to call it a recurrence so I won a trip to Radiation and Lupron land. Back in remission again but I think I am going to be keeping up my regular checkups!

  • Dennis Golden moderator author
    1 week ago

    Yup… probably a good idea – Just know you are not alone in our group alone we have between 30 and 40 many raised their hand when asked if they were skipping checkups.

    In fact a bud joke with me – “Just stay keep out of the doctor’s office and you will be healthier”. Sadly many men believe that to be true.

    I was just in a seminar on prostate cancer and it was interesting to learn … the fact that you have prostate cancer can raise your risk ever so slightly for developing heart issues. Now add in Lupron for an extended and the risk is greater – Glad to hear you are keeping up with your regular checkups. … Dennis(ProstateCancer.net TEAM)

  • Poll