“Prostate Cancer” … not always the end of the line!

I’ll call him Tom. He lived through the ordeal of dealing with prostate cancer. He wants to tell his story in hopes of helping others that may be at risk, or who may be going through it themselves.

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Prostate Cancer

To: Martin Brant

I am married with grown up children and am writing this in the hope that in some way it may help someone else in a situation facing the prospect of dealing with Prostate Cancer who is a visitor to your web site. Or possibly it prompts someone to go to see their doctor if they are all concerned about prostate cancer.

In the autumn of 2007 I agreed to be part of the ProTect study being undertaken by Bristol and Cambridge Universities into prostate cancer (PCa). Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) levels do not necessarily indicate that an individual has PCa as they do fluctuate quite a lot and are only a possible indication that something is wrong. Obviously if the level is extremely high then it is much more likely the disease is present. However a slightly high level may be offset by a subsequent one that is quite normal. Initially it only meant having a blood test to ascertain PSA. The norm for men of my age at the time was 4 but the study was including those with a PSA higher than 3. There are symptoms that give an indication that you may be suffering from PCa which include having to get up several times in the night to go to the loo. I had no such problem and thought there was no reason why I should have the disease. My father who lived to 100 had PCa but it was not the cause of his death. When I received the letter with my PCa, which turned out to be just over 3, it included a request that I attend hospital for a biopsy. Rather than just accept the situation I decided to go to see my own doctor for his advice. He suggested I had another PSA test as the levels do fluctuate. The result came back over 4 so his advice was to have the biopsy and hopefully put my mind at rest.

I duly went and had the biopsy which they said might be a little painful and cause you to pass blood in urine and possibly in your stools for a short while. It meant having an ultrasound of the prostate via the back passage first to identify exactly where the prostate sat and then two sets of five biopsies from each side of the prostate. In my case I did not have any pain at all and very little bleeding subsequently, although I do know that others did not have quite such an easy time. It was then a question of having to wait for the result.

I subsequently received a letter with an appointment for me to get the results of the biopsy. With hindsight it could have meant only one thing, I had the disease; otherwise I’m sure I would have had a letter saying that everything was ok. I persuaded my wife it was not necessary for her to come with me for the results as I was not really concerned at that time about the outcome. When I spoke to the doctor he first asked if I would agree to our conversation being recorded, I had no objections especially if it would help the research. He then went on to say that I had 20% cancer in two of the cores of biopsies. It was at an early stage and I had three options and also as part of the study they were asking if I would agree to ‘randomisation’ which meant that a computer would pick one of the options for me, but once agreed I would have to stick to it.

What was my first reaction? I suppose at the back of my mind it was what I really expected, I don’t know why, call it a sixth sense perhaps so I didn’t fall to pieces, something that surprises me when I look back as I can be quite an emotional person.

The three options were explained and were

1) Watchful Waiting, with regular PSA tests so that any significant increase could be identified and the possibility of taking one of the other two options considered

2) Have Radiotherapy or Brachytherapy, and

3) Have surgery to remove my prostate.

My initial thought was to ‘get rid’, but first to get a better idea of what the consequences of the options were I decided to talk to a radiographer and surgeon at the hospital.

The first option ‘Watchful Waiting’ meant doing nothing other than having regular PSA tests. This would still leave a chance that the cancer could break through the wall of the prostate and once outside could spread to the lymph glands and then travel around the body.

With radiotherapy the radiographer seemed to think it would be very straight forward but it would mean a daily (weekday) visit to the hospital for six weeks which, from my research, most people found quite tiring from the travelling as well as the therapy. In my case Brachytherapy (implanting radioactive ‘pills’ directly into the prostate to kill the cancer) was a no go as you need a good urine flow as the inflammation around the urethra tends to squeeze it up for a while and in my case would probably stop the flow altogether. The downside being possible incontinence and loss of erections.

Lastly the potential for an operation to remove the prostate. The potential side effects of the op were incontinence and the inability to get an erection without medical help e.g. Viagra etc. The surgeon I saw at the hospital said I had a 1 in 20 chance of being incontinent. It was at the time when the ‘Da Vinci’ machine was being first used by hospitals and the surgeon I spoke to was relatively new to using the machine. I did much investigation via the internet and discovered that to be successful with little or no side effects the op had to be done by a very experienced surgeon.  I found the prostate cancer web site (www.prostatecanceruk.org) extremely helpful as you were able to ‘talk’ to others who had been through the same, and often more difficult situations.

So I found an experienced surgeon who I felt very happy with who used the laparoscopic method and got him to do the op.  After the op I had to have a catheter which was removed after a week. During that time my erections started to return. So if anyone is in the same position and has decided to take the op route my suggestion is find a surgeon who does the op on a regular basis (not once or twice a year). If you can find an experienced surgeon (someone with several hundred op’s under his belt) talk to him and go from there.

I had intended writing this sooner but somehow life always seems to have got in the way, but I have at last managed to find time to finish off what I started several years ago. It’s now nearly several years since my op and my PSA continues at 0.01<, long may it continue.

I consider myself to have been very lucky, ok I had prostate cancer but it was picked up very early through a research project that I agreed to join voluntarily; and after having done my research into the various options I was in a position to be able to decide who did the op.

So, if you have any of these symptoms –

·         Needing to pee more often

·         Difficulty peeing or a weak flow

·         Straining or taking a long time to finish urinating

·         Feeling that your bladder has not emptied properly

·         Needing to rush to the toilet.

…please go and see your doctor, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you have got this far, thank you for reading the article and if the information helps even one person seek out help sooner rather than later it will have served its purpose.

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Dick

Dick

Ever have a conversation with someone about what it’s like to have a dick, or how you feel about your own? Brian Fender has. One by one he has 63 men take off their clothes and talk about their relationships with their dicks, how having one has impacted their lives and how they feel about things like size, sex and masturbation.

The image above is a screenshot from Brian’s film “Dick”, a film in which 63 nude men talk about their penises. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Dick and believe you will too. You can find it at https://www.indiepixfilms.com/dickdocumentary/ for $4.99.

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A Case Against Circumcision

Authors: Ryan McAllister, Research Assistant Professor of Physics and Oncology at Georgetown University & John W. Travis, Adjunct Professor of Well-being at RMIT University

The foreskin is the most sensitive part of the penis.

For centuries, children have been subjected to cultural and medicalised practices that were ultimately proven harmful and a violation of basic bodily integrity. Such practices have included foot binding, forehead flattening, scarification and genital cutting.

In English-speaking countries, the practice of cutting the genitals of male children was gradually medicalised over a period of 150 years with the benign-sounding label “circumcision.”

Today, there is increasing awareness that infant male circumcision – once deemed a “parental choice” – is really an unnecessary, irreversible and harmful bodily modification.

With the recently discovered functions of the foreskin and a growth in awareness, we’re fortunately beginning to see the rights and experience of the child become the paramount consideration in discussions about circumcision.

The foreskin

The human foreskin is a contiguous part of the skin system of the clitoris or penis.

In infant males, the foreskin is attached to the head of the penis (glans). The outer foreskin protects the more sensitive inner foreskin and the glans from abrasion and injury.

The moveable skin facilitates sexual pleasure. In fact, the foreskin is typically the most sensitive area of the penis.

When circumcised males lose sensitivity and skin mobility, it’s likely to significantly alter their sexual experience.

One recent Danish cross-sectional study concluded that male circumcision was associated with sexual difficulties for men and their female partners.

Bioethics of a non-treatment surgery on minors

Surgery without consent is ethical only in cases for:

1) incapacitated patients, in order to save their life

2) minors, with proxy consent from a parent or guardian, but only for surgery that addresses an underlying condition.

Excision of an infant’s foreskin for dubious medical or cultural purposes is an anomaly. Because it removes healthy, typically-developed tissue, the procedure fails to meet either of the above conditions.

Circumcision of minors also stands in contradiction to other medical ethics principles, including:

Avoiding causing needless harm

Promoting the patient’s medical well-being

Providing information on a procedure that a reasonable person would deem significant.

Complications

Circumcision can cause skin bridges, haemorrhaging, infection, as well as major penile damage.

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Circumcision (check up to two)

View Results

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Dozens of case studies describe severe complications, including penile amputations and death; several infant deaths have been reported in the past few years. Continue reading

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Male Modesty … A Modern Phenomena

Naked Men

Reposted from www.patheos.com

By Marc

I think it’s fair to say that the average man exposed to the above advertisement is either:

a) uproariously amused, under the impression that it is fake or

b) painfully creeped out, under the realization that it is real or

c) a little of both.

As it turns out, the advertisement is real.

As men, we need to confront the obvious fact that, as awkward as Bradley’s group showers may appear to us now, it certainly didn’t appear so to the men who bought and sold Bradley’s group showers then. If a man were to submit this ad to the Washington Post today, he’d undoubtedly be rejected as a prankster. Less than 100 years ago, however, this ad was accepted and displayed. Male nudity just ain’t what it used to be.

And this isn’t some big secret. As The Oatmeal has it:

Our grandfathers are far more comfortable than us in their own skin. Thus modern men are left with two possible conclusions:

1. They’re weird.

2. We’re weird.

And though I’d like it to be otherwise, it seems that we’re the odd ducks: Our modern timidity over the naked male form is silly, unprecedented, and ultimately a detriment to the manly life.

At no point in history have men been overtly nervous over their own bodies.Whether in the Roman baths, Greek Olympics, or in medieval Europe — where public nudity was common in bathhouses, and even priests appeared completely nude in certain religious processions — there has been ease about men, a confidence and a certain peace in the display of the human form.

Then came Puritanism. I’m sure we remember our history, so I won’t bother with the full progression of the revolt against the allowances, worldliness and fleshliness of the old, liturgical religions. I’ll simply give the end result:

Puritanism saw the world — the flesh, material goods, etc. — as evil, perishable stuff, good only for ‘getting over’. The world is fallen, in the clutches of Satan, and the goal of the Christian man is to reject it in favor of the spiritual world. The body — as part of the material world — is an essentially confusing thing, filled with dirty desires, concupiscence, unwieldy passions, bewildering emotions, depressions, rages and all the rest. It is not something beautiful — it is flesh to be transcended.

Thus a culture developed in which it was considered poor taste to say “thigh” or “breast” in conversation, and even perspiration and digestion became taboo topics. But hold up! you may rightly protest. We’re no longer Puritans! In fact, many of us are not Continue reading

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Breast Feeding … The Time Magazine Cover

We’ve all seen the cover of Time magazine this week, so I’ll show you a different picture. Breast feeding … I don’t get what all the controversy is about. It’s about the most natural, and one of the most beautiful visuals I can imagine. They say women shouldn’t flaunt it. What’s that all about? What’s flaunting it? Why have we sexualized female breasts to the extent they are considered indecent, even at a beach? Despite all the positive and beneficial qualities of most religions, this is a perfect example of one of the negative impacts religion has on society.

There were complaints the child was too old to breast feed. Many logical, thoughtful people see it this way. On the other hand, many psychologists believe there is nothing wrong with it, that breast feeding until age three or four nurtures the child emotionally, causing him to grow into adulthood better adjusted, more independent and better prepared the face the challenges of life. I’ll buy that.

Don’t forget to eat more Oreo Cookies.

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Unintended Consequences

The following is an email I received recently. At first it stunned me. Much of what Enlightened Male stands for was called into question, basically by the nature of the pols posted here and by casting focus on the commonly perceived flaws of the human body; for example, men grappling with their penis size. A significant percentage of men suffer too many occasions of inadequacy because they are convinced their penises are too small, yet I am hosting pols that reflect a narrow majority of men and women feel size matters. And it’s true, I do feature quite a few articles about body acceptance concerning issues like penis size, labia size, etc. Do these pols and articles, by their mere appearance on this site, simply focus attention on things guys and gals try not to think about, and negate the body acceptance mindset that I’m trying to promote?

Here is the email:

Dear Martin:

I am a female author writing about midlife men who are attracted to each other. For this project I have read widely – including one of your novels – and have visited your sites and read a number of your pieces. There is much there that has confirmed me in my endeavor.

I have to wonder why the The Enlightened Male OFTEN encourages a focus on things such as member size and fur thickness/distribution.

Supposedly your cause, if you will, is supporting men who are attracted to loving both men and women. Your novels and stories have this focus. You hope men will be self-accepting, all along the spectrum, but you also want to help them (or so I thought) to focus on what’s truly important in relationships: Love.

You applaud women who accept and love their special men. You gush how you wish there were more such women in the world. Do you really think the sort of woman who loves her man “no matter what” with respect to his sexuality is going to reject him for the “wrong” amount of body hair? I am confused by your frequent polls majoring on such minor B.S., Martin, when what matters is something far less tangible than preoccupations from which I would hope you would be aiming to liberate your site’s readers. There are plenty of “UN-Enlightened” Male websites out there, encouraging the frequent consideration of body hair thickness and penis size: Why run with that pack?

The characters in your novels are searingly relieved and thrilled to find brothers, kindred souls, with similar inner/lifelong needs. Are they then going to take out the ruler and measure conformity to fetishistic preferences, after lifetimes of closetedness? What a Disconnect! I think you’re opposing your authorial agenda here.

Most bisexual men, as most people, hunger deeply for unconditional acceptance. I would Continue reading

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Accommodating Women

I don’t title this piece lightly.If you Google transsexual or transgender about all you get is escort services and porn, which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for. I’m more interested in the woman, the girl that wants a boyfriend and an everyday life. There is a good size community of these girls, some pre-op and others who have gone through sexual reassignment surgery. The girl I find intriguing is the one who has decided to keep her penis, though everything else about her is female. My question is: Is she the girl you would like to be in a serious relationship with?

The following questions and answers are from Michael at TS Girlfriend

Not all girls are born female. There is a special class of woman out there, with a different set of attributes than the “genetic girl,” or GG. It’s the transsexual woman, or “TS.” A woman who used to be a male. “Pre-Op” refers to the fact that she has not had sexual reassignment surgery (SRS), the sex-change surgery.

Definitions: A “pre-op transsexual” is a woman in the wrong body, one who has breasts (through taking female hormones and/or breast implants), and a cock. A TS is almost always living full time as a woman. A “non-op transsexual” means that the TS will not have SRS. Usually that is also the case with a pre-op TS.

1. Why would a guy want to date a pre-op transsexual?

A lot of guys who show interest in TS’s are, in fact, bisexual. Others are bi-curious. Still others are looking for cheap thrills. Some men find TS’s to be more feminine than GG’s. And then, of course, there are guys who seem to just plain connect better with a pre-op transsexual than a GG.

For the guys just seeking a sexual experience, there are plenty of shemale escorts available who will happily provide an exciting experience for a fee, without any danger of commitment. Don’t know any escorts? Use a search engine, search under keywords “shemale escorts (enter name of your city or state)” — odds are you will find what you need.

TS’s tell me that most of the guys who contact them are, in fact, bisexual or bi-curious. They say these men are often looking for a same-sex experience but packaged in such a way that they have deniability. They seek to deny (to themselves, probably) that sex with a person who has both tits and a dick is homosexual in nature, when the guy is sucking that dick or getting fucked by it.

Some men find today’s so-called independent woman to be not very feminine at all, overly assertive, argumentative, prone to characterizing a simple male advance as “harassment,” and a general pain in the ass to be around. One guy told me dating a so-called independent woman “is like dating your brother.” Who among the women of today delight in being extremely (and classically) feminine? The TS’s.

Others find solace with a pre-op transsexual because she used to be a male and has a far better understanding of what it means to be male than most GG’s ever will. Any guy who is chronically misunderstood by GG’s will be able to appreciate the viewpoint of the TS.

2. Sexual confusion and disorientation.

Guys ask me for advice. “I met this transsexual woman at a club and I am really attracted to her but I am concerned that it means I am gay or something. Am I?”

Some careful dialogue with the guy usually uncovers the fact that he was very attracted to the TS’s femininity. Her look, her voice, her movement, her laugh, her smile, her scent, and all those other feminine cues that trigger interest and a masculine response from a guy. Gay guys are not attracted to those attributes.

Therefore, if a straight man finds himself interested in a pre-op transsexual and is experiencing some confusion as a result, then he needs to consider exactly what it is about her that is attracting him. If it’s her femininity, then he’s not responding like a gay man would, and thus shouldn’t worry about whether he’s “turning gay.” If the guy can accept that he is attracted to a somewhat different kind of woman and still wants to pursue it, take it just one step at a time.

Take her out to dinner or a movie. Talk to her about whatever, listen to her words. Look into her eyes. Can he get lost in her eyes, as he can with a GG? Can he relax around her and just enjoy being with her, as if she were a GG? If so, take one more step. Hold hands, kiss her good-night. In other words, treat her like he would any GG date, at a pace that he can handle, given his concerns. Easy!

3. What does a transsexual woman look for in a guy? Continue reading

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Big Surprise

Bisexuals Really Do Exist!

An article from the New York Times by David Tuller

The finding is not likely to surprise bisexuals, who have long asserted that attraction often is not limited to one sex. But for many years the question of bisexuality has bedeviled scientists. A widely publicized study published in 2005, also by researchers at Northwestern, reported that “with respect to sexual arousal and attraction, it remains to be shown that male bisexuality exists.”

That conclusion outraged bisexual men and women, who said it appeared to support a stereotype of bisexual men as closeted homosexuals.

In the new study, published online in the journal Biological Psychology, the researchers relied on more stringent criteria for selecting participants. To improve their chances of finding men aroused by women as well as men, the researchers recruited subjects from online venues specifically catering to bisexuals.

They also required participants to have had sexual experiences with at least two people of each sex and a romantic relationship of at least three months with at least one person of each sex.

Men in the 2005 study, on the other hand, were recruited through advertisements in gay-oriented and alternative publications and were identified as heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual based on responses to a standard questionnaire.

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Circumcision … A Jewish Perspective

From the Jewish Daily Forward

By Jay Michaelson

For several decades, opposition to circumcision has been building in the United States and within the American Jewish community. This year, the people of San Francisco will see on their ballots a proposed ordinance banning circumcision entirely, with no exception for religious Jews or Muslims. As others have written in these pages already, this measure is offensive and overbroad, and at least some of its proponents are clearly guilty of anti-Semitism. (It is also, in my view, unconstitutional.) Civil liberties groups and Jewish organizations have roundly condemned it, and defeat seems likely.

But San Francisco is a harbinger of things to come, and critiques of circumcision are not limited to the lunatic fringe. Opponents say that circumcision is a brutal, nonconsensual mutilation of a child that results in a permanent loss of sensitivity. Our society doesn’t allow parents to abuse their children, this argument runs, so why should we allow this particular form of violence, which is irrevocable and damaging? Proponents counter that circumcision reduces the risk of HIV transmission and of some STDs, that the “mutilation” in question is relatively minor, and that, in the case of religious communities, it is time honored and religiously mandated.

Personally, were it not for my Jewish heritage, I would never circumcise a child of my own. (I do not have children, though my partner and I are considering it.) There is no question that circumcision reduces sexual pleasure, which I find philosophically repugnant. In fact, whether or not this was the original purpose of the mitzvah, the power of circumcision to reduce pleasure was well known to Jewish sages; Maimonides, for example, praises circumcision for just that reason. In addition, it is an unnecessary form of surgery, and it is indeed permanent; your son cannot change his mind about it later, even if he were to discontinue Jewish religious observance. And all of us who have been to a circumcision ceremony know that — for some babies, at least — it does seem to hurt. Finally, while there may be marginal health benefits to circumcision, I’d rather invest the time teaching my son about safer sex than slice into the body that God and nature have formed.

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Does Circumcision Make It Safer

In male human anatomy, the foreskin (1) is a generally retractable double-layered fold of skin and mucous membrane that covers the glans penis (3) and protects the urinary meatus (2) when the penis is not erect.

The outside of the foreskin is a continuation of the skin on the shaft of the penis, but the inner foreskin is a mucous membrane (5) like the inside of the eyelid or the mouth. The mucocutaneous zone occurs where the outer and inner foreskin meet. Like the eyelid, the foreskin is free to move after it separates from the glans, usually by puberty. Smooth muscle fibers keep it close to the glans but make it highly elastic.  The foreskin is attached to the glans with a frenulum (4), which helps return the foreskin over the glans. At the end of the foreskin, there is a band of tissue called the ridged band, (6) which, according to some researchers, contains nerve endings called Meissner’s corpuscles. According to a study by Sorrells et al. (2007), the five most sensitive areas of the penis are on the foreskin.

Like the penis itself, foreskins come in all shapes and sizes.

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Some doctors and researchers believe there are medical and practical reasons to circumcise men.

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From MedicalDude.com

Gay Men Undergoing Circumcision Would Have Limited

Impact On Preventing HIV

Adult circumcision has been proposed as a possible HIV prevention strategy for gay men, but a new study by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health presented at the XVIII International AIDS Conference suggests it would have a very small effect on reducing HIV incidence in the United States.

Circumcision is thought to reduce the risk of HIV transmission by removing cells in the foreskin that are most susceptible to infection by the virus. Clinical trials conducted in Africa have found it reduces the risk of HIV in heterosexual men, yet there is little evidence that it can reduce transmission among American gay men.

The study was based on surveys of 521 gay and bisexual men in San Francisco. Findings indicated that 115 men (21 percent) were HIV-positive and 327 (63 percent) had been circumcised. Of the remaining 69 men (13 percent), only three (0.5 percent) said they would be willing to participate in a clinical trial of circumcision and HIV prevention, and only four (0.7 percent) were willing to get circumcised if it was proven safe and effective in preventing HIV.

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