Posts Tagged ‘Cancer Treatment’

CT or not to CT, ask your oncologist the question

Researchers at UC Davis published findings last week that linked CT scans with an increased risk of secondary cancers in men with stage one testicular cancer. While this may sound alarming, we need to pause for a moment and realize that CT scans play an important role in diagnosis and surveillance. That being said, this should be a topic of conversation with your oncologist, and it will be with mine in June.

Eating healthy, not a cure-all for cancer

I came across an article today regarding healthy lifestyle choices that cure and/or prevent cancer. The implied notion that cancer is primarily caused by environmental factors really irks me the wrong way. There are too many folks out there who toss around claims as if they’re selling a product to consumers. Obviously some lifestyle choices can really cause cancer, e.g. using tobacco products. However, in my case, my oncologist stated that origin remains unproven, but my cancer was likely tied to genetics. Eating twigs and berries would not have prevented it, nor would it have served as a suitable treatment in lieu of surgery and chemotherapy.

Let the awkward appointments begin

Tomorrow, I start my day with a trip to the local sperm bank, however it’s called an “endocrine lab” at Brigham & Women’s. I’m pretty sure they use this name to keep people from laughing at what is actually going on in there. I’ve got to freeze my “goods” because chemo treatment could potentially make me infertile.

On a ridiculously stupid note, my HMO (Blue Cross) covers almost all of my cancer-related treatment which is great, but according to their existing policy, I can only freeze sperm if “currently undergoing a treatment that causes infertility”.

In a nut shell, I have to start the chemo first, then freeze my sperm to qualify. I beg to differ… the moment my right testicle was removed was the start of treatment that could cause infertility. Of course my oncologist agrees, informing me that the moment I start chemo- I could become permanently infertile. Thus, I’m going to the sperm bank without Blue Cross agreeing to pay for it, which would be a $1,100 bill, plus $400 annually for the freezer space. To Blue Cross’ credit, my situation is now under review with their grievance department, and I’m hoping for a positive outcome. I think common sense is on my side, as I’m sure a story about an HMO refusing to help a young man who wants to have children won’t help their PR efforts.

After the sperm clinic, I’m headed over to Dana-Farber for my 2nd CT scan of the month. I get to try the drinkable dye this time, which I’m ecstatic about. My first CT scan involved an IV injected dye, which burned like hell, and I’m a big wimp when it comes to needles. If I could drink Milwaukee’s Best in college, I sure as hell can drink some chalk-tasting liquid tomorrow.

I’ll follow that up with a PFT (pulmonary function test). I opted for BEP chemo treatment, which poses some sort of risk of lung damage. This test is supposed to determine the current health of my lungs. I’ve heard that this involves breathing into a tube, but it doesn’t hurt.