GINA KOLATA, in her continuing series in the New York Times, on the war against cancer, published in today’s edition another story that has great relevance for us advanced prostate cancer survivors. The story is about American’s failure to take certain drugs that have been demonstrated to prevent cancer while Americans are very happy to pay for, consume unproven supplements, and make diet modifications that also have not been proven effective.

Her very first example is prostate cancer. Even though prostate cancer is the second-most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States and more than 27,000 of us will die from it this year, many men fail to take a drug that has been proven to have the potential to prevent many cases!

She went on to write, “A large and rigorous study found that a generic drug, finasteride, costing about $2 a day, could prevent as many as 50,000 cases each year. Another study found that finasteride’s close cousin, dutasteride, about $3.50 a day, has the same effect.

As the nation’s war on cancer continues, with little change in the overall cancer mortality rate, many experts on cancer and public health say more attention should be paid to prevention.

But prevention has proved more difficult than many imagined. It has been devilishly difficult to show conclusively that something simple like eating more fruits and vegetables or exercising regularly helps. And, as the response to the prostate drugs shows, people are not enthusiastic about taking anticancer pills, or are worried about side effects or not really convinced the drugs work. Others are just unaware of them.” </