Friday, July 12, 2013

How Safe Can You Be?

     A new report says that not all men should get the PSA test for prostate cancer, because it often produces false positives and leads to treatments that are both risky and expensive.

     I've had many PSA tests over the years -- I take any test that's free and doesn't hurt! -- and I once had a somewhat-elevated number. The doctor simply called me back in; the lab redid the test; and the number was normal. Presumably it was a false positive. I'm not sure what extra risk I was taking.

     So I think I'll continue to take the test, if my doctor will let me, because even though for most older men developing slow-growing prostate cancer is somewhat normal and not life threatening, I do have a family history of cancer and I try to be vigilant.

     According to the experts, however, I'm just a hypochondriac. I'm wasting medical resources and posing a danger to myself. Maybe at my next checkup my doctor will simply tell me I don't need it -- and I do tend to do what my doctor tells me to do. That would solve the problem.

     But I do wonder how many men insist on the PSA test, even though they don't need it.

     (I, on the other hand, don't push for heart tests, because my family has a history of strong, healthy hearts. So I figure any extra cost ot the system I create with my worries about cancer, I save with my complacency about heart disease.)

     So anyway, B and I are going on vacation next week. I also wonder how many of you lock your doors when you go away on vacation. Maybe I shouldn't reveal this, in case some nefarious internet criminal gets his or her hands on my home address (are you watching NSA?), but we hardly ever lock our doors. In fact, I do not even carry a key to my house.

     I do lock up and close the first-floor windows when we go to bed at night. I don't want to be in the house if and when a burglar decides to break in. Not that I want someone to break in when I'm away from home, either, but we really don't have much in the house that's irreplaceable or even very valuable. Except maybe some old photos ... and who's going to steal old photos?

     I guess we'll lock the house when we go away. Both of my kids are supposed to stop by while we're gone. But B gave my daughter a key; and my son has a key to the car we'll leave behind, and then he can use the garage-door opener.

     Also, we have someone taking care of our dog. So there will be a lot of people coming and going while we're not here. I just don't worry about it.

     Finally, it was three weeks ago that I started my microwave experiment. As you can see, both plants are doing just fine. Since the young woman on Facebook claimed the microwaved water killed her plant in nine days, I think I'm within scientific bounds to proclaim that I could not replicate her experiment. (And while I'm away, probably both plants will die, so the experiment will be over anyway.) I am therefore drawing my conclusion now:  microwaved water is safe to drink, or at least safe to water your plants with.

     If you want more rumination about how safe we reasonably can be, check out Facts About the Safety of Diet Coke, which I found via Facebook courtesy of friends Susan Rice and Sharon Greenthal.

     On Monday I'm slated to post the Best of Boomer Blogs, which I will do. But otherwise, next week I hope I'll be outdoors enjoying summer activities, not indoors posting blog entries on my laptop.

     Last time I was away, I asked people to guess where I was. Most people correctly placed me in Savannah, Ga. Obviously, I made it too easy.

     So next week I'll make it harder. Can you guess where I'll be? All I'll tell you right now is according to it's supposed to be sunny, in the low 80s, every day. I hope they're right!


Olga said...

We always lock our doors when we are out and always at night. I often lock the door if I am home alone, but if Mike is here I assume he will protect me. Hmm, maybe I should reassess that assumption.

DJan said...

Just water those plants before you leave, Tom, and they shouldn't both die. Plants can go weeks without being watered, especially those philodendrons. If they begin to get all droopy, someone might take pity on them anyway. As to where you're going, low 80s suggests a little altitude, so how about somewhere in the Northeast mountains?

Stephen Hayes said...

I'm glad about the way your microwave experiment turned out. Now I don't have to stop drinking anything heated in the microwave.

Douglas said...

I can safely guess it will not be Florida.

Anonymous said...

Locking doors is not my thing in life. When I was single, I once came home after being away for three weeks to find that I had not only not locked the sliding glass door in my bedroom - I had not closed it!

Now, Hunky Husband locks the doors; so, I sometimes return home in utter frustration that I must fish out a key with my hands full of stuff!
Cop Car said...

David takes Saw Palmetto for something associated with a wonky PSA test. He says it works. Don't ask me for details, he can''t explain it, but the Doc says it is good. Dianne

gabbygeezer said...

I had PSA tests done for years. The last reading was elevated, and the doc ordered a biopsy. No cancer. At my next exam, the doc said it's time to just forget about the test. If have, all is well, and that was a couple of years ago.

When we lived in small to medium-sized cities, we seldom locked doors. Now, fairly isolated in the country, we're very careful to lock up at all times.

Hooray for your research report. Tomorrow's coffee is just sitting there waiting for me to nuke a cup.

Linda Myers said...

We don't lock our doors unless we're leaving town. But then, someone is usually staying in our house keeping company with our cat. They may lock it or not.

80s. Hmm. A little too warm to be coming to visit the Pacific Northwest. Only about half our days next week will be that warm.

June said...

Low 80s, eh? For sure you won't be coming here, then. Our forecast is for high 90s all week.

I don't worry much about people stealing our stuff either. What're they going to take . . . lamps? It's not as if we have piles of diamonds and cash lying around.