Military Metaphor to Help Understand Prostate Cancer Evaluation and Management

Andrew Siegel MD  12/7/19

Medicine is not an exact science, but more of a blended form of science and art set in a sea of human emotions and influenced by numerous other variables. Using metaphor to connect a new experience with that of a familiar, emotion-laden one can create the context to help understand and process the new experience.  For purposes of clarity and simplicity, physicians often utilize metaphors to facilitate communication about serious illnesses, particularly cancer. 


Thank you Pixabay, for image above


To combat and defeat  prostate cancer (the “enemy”), intelligence (“intel”) will need to be gathered and reconnaissance (“recon”) missions will need to be deployed to survey and ascertain the enemy’s position and status. This translates to the various diagnostic tests that are performed that may include magnetic resonance imaging, computerized tomography, bone scan, positron emission tomography/computerized tomography, PSA, Gleason score, genomic prostate score, etc.

Based upon intel and recon, fighting the battle and defeating the enemy may require a combination of different strategies (“multimodal actions”). The multimodal approach may require the specific talents of the different branches of the military that function on unique battlegrounds and can work separately or in tandem to keep the enemy at bay. One can think of surgery (RALP) as the Army with its ground forces using artillery and tactical weapons to mount a direct attack via the land; radiation therapy as the Air Force using gunfire on the enemy from the air and space; and androgen deprivation therapy (testosterone-suppressing agents circulating through the blood) as the Naval Forces using the sea to their advantage.

At times, despite the valiant efforts of the aforementioned three branches, the enemy remains undefeated (prostate cancer progression).  One can think of chemotherapy, advanced hormonal therapy, immunotherapy and bone-targeted therapy as the Marines and other special ops personnel- specialty troops who can be deployed using to their advantage the latest and newest generation weapons to keep the enemy at bay.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

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Dr. Andrew Siegel is a physician and urological surgeon who is board-certified in urology as well as in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.  He is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School and is a Castle Connolly Top Doctor New York Metro Area, Inside Jersey Top Doctor and Inside Jersey Top Doctor for Women’s Health. His mission is to “bridge the gap” between the public and the medical community. He is a urologist at New Jersey Urology, the largest urology practice in the United States.

The content of this entry is excerpted from his new book, PROSTATE CANCER 20/20: A Practical Guide to Understanding Management Options for Patients and Their Families

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Video trailer for Prostate Cancer 20/20

Preview of Prostate Cancer 20/20

Andrew Siegel MD Amazon author page

Prostate Cancer 20/20 on Apple iBooks

PROSTATE CANCER 20/20: A Practical Guide to Understanding Management Options for Patients and Their Families is now on sale at Audible, iTunes and Amazon as an audiobook read by the author (just over 6 hours). 

Dr. Siegel’s other books:

FINDING YOUR OWN FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: The Essential Guide to Maximizing Health, Wellness, Fitness and Longevity

PROMISCUOUS EATING— Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food

MALE PELVIC FITNESS: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health

THE KEGEL FIX: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual, and Urinary Health






One Response to “Military Metaphor to Help Understand Prostate Cancer Evaluation and Management”

  1. urologic Says:

    Hi Andy, I hope all is well with you. I really enjoy reading your posts. Thank you for including me. It has been awhile since we last spoke, but I finally took the concept of UroVIP off the shelf, dusted it off, and I am trying to launch something new for the practice of Urology and Men’s Health. I thought you might be interested, and I would love to discuss further my concept with you when it is convenient. Happy Holidays!Be Well, Harvey

    Harvey Samowitz, MD

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