Ted Danson helped out with prostate cancer long before “Bored to Death.”

one is too many...ten is not enough...

I have had fun with the character in “Bored to Death” Ted Danson getting prostate cancer. I have learned a lot about the TNM staging system. It is confusing. I initially posted about that it was not “real life” to just tell  a patient that he had Stage  Two prostate cancer. That is a very broad statement. I rarely use the staging system tell patients about their newly diagnosed cancer. To me a patient needs to know-

  • the volume of the disease and it’s importance
  • that the PSA is mildly, moderate, or markedly elevated and the importance
  • is the cancer palpable to my exam
  • the importance of the Gleason’s score and how his score was determined
  • what staging is…is the cancer anywhere else?
  • then of course underlying health and if there are any voiding symptoms (this  helps guide the decision process)

If you know all the stuff up above then you know your stage….good luck putting it into the AJCC system. I asked a radiation colleague about the TNM system thinking that he would understand it and use the system that included grade and volume and PSA and he said he usually did not go beyond the TNM alone. (Staging uses the TNM system and then add other factors to assimilate all the info into a stage. The deal is that if you simply tell a patient “you are Stage Two” he would not know the specifics of his disease. A better way to tell a patient, if you prefer a generalized method, would be to  say you have prostate cancer with favorable parameters (mod PSA, mod volume, and mod Gleason’s) and it is confined (to the best of our knowledge) and you are a candidate for all  of the currently available curative modalities. Whewwwww!

Back to Mr. Danson. You’ll see below that he helped out with prostate cancer awareness  years ago. So he must be an  advocate of prostate cancer awareness and probably had something to do with the script including prostate cancer. Every little bit of awareness  helps. Thanks Ted.


ESPN Hosts, Ted Danson & D.L. Hughley Stand Up To Cancer

Updated 1:51 PM PDT, Thu, Dec 4, 2008

College basketball analyst and sports ambassador Dick Vitale and co-host of ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” Michael Wilbon have teamed up with ESPN, The V Foundation for Cancer Research® and Stand Up To Cancer in an effort to create a national discussion about the often ignored reality of prostate cancer and to help men start to understand their potential risk for the disease. Prostate cancer is among the biggest men’s health concerns. It currently affects approximately two million American men; more than 186,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008 alone.

The effort launches with “Life: Interrupted – Stand Up To Prostate Cancer,” a town hall-style program taking place Thursday, December 4, at New York City’s ESPNZone. The event will tackle prostate cancer, which affects 1 out of every 6 American men. This event signals the start of a robust collective fight to defeat prostate cancer by empowering men to take control of their prostate health.

“Last year, I had a prostate health scare. Luckily, I escaped a diagnosis of prostate cancer, but I’ve since realized I need to take control of my health, especially my prostate health,” explained Vitale. ”I’ve joined this cause because I want men to seize control of their health and take the necessary steps to help manage their prostate cancer risk. The disease causes so much of an interruption to men’s life, and the time has come to step up the fight against it.”

Vitale and Wilbon are hosting the town hall, which will follow a sports show style format and will feature various sports and prostate cancer-relevant topics. This format engages men about their health within a dialogue of sports topics. Other panellists include one the nation’s leading urologists, Dr. Steven Kaplan; CEO of The V Foundation, Nick Valvano; Dr. Jonathan Simons from the Prostate Cancer Foundation;

 Dr. Jean Bonhomme from the Men’s Health Network as well as celebs Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, DL Hughley and Joe Theismann.

“If the first time you think about prostate cancer is when you’re diagnosed, it might be too late. Men over the age of 40, especially those with other risk factors, should be proactive in managing their prostate health,” said Kaplan, M.D., F.A.C.S., Vice Chairman of the Department of Urology at Columbia University.

“The PSA, which is a simple blood test, is an excellent tool to help manage your risk of prostate health. ew studies now point to higher-than-average PSAs as correlating with a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with prostate cancer in the future. One marker is 1.5 or higher in men over the age of 50. This is significant because we now potentially have a new way to closely monitor men who may be at increased risk for developing prostate cancer.”

Dr. Kaplan, among the other panellists, will paint the picture of prostate cancer in America, showing why prostate cancer is such an interruption in men’s lives. Indeed, every 2.5 minutes, a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer. And, every 19 minutes, a man dies from it.

“Dick and I wish that every guy out there can hear the message we are trying to spread,” commented Wilbon. “The good news is that the show will be available as a podcast on www.JimmyV.org.”

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) proudly provided funding and support for the ‘Life: Interrupted’ initiative. GSK is closing in on cancer from all sides with a new generation of patient-focused cancer treatments in prevention, supportive care, chemotherapy and targeted therapies. Just one example of this commitment: GSK has invested significant resources in prostate cancer prevention research. GSK also is a major supporter of Stand Up To Cancer, and its innovative research-support efforts.

Additional supporters and in attendance at the “Life: Interrupted” town hall event include the American Urological Association Foundation, CancerCare, Men’s Health Network, Prevent Cancer Foundation, Prostate Cancer Education Council, Prostate Cancer Foundation, UsTOO International Prostate Cancer Education & Support Network, Women Against Prostate Cancer, and ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer.

About The V Foundation
The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, The Foundation has raised more than $80 million to fund cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all new direct cash donations and net proceeds of events directly to cancer research and related programs.The Foundation, which has received five consecutive top 4-star ratings from Charity Navigator, awards grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Board.

About Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C)
Stand Up To Cancer is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and was established by a group of media, entertainment and philanthropic leaders, whose lives have all been affected by cancer in significant ways.

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