NEW YORK--Michael Korda, best-selling author and editor-in-chief
and vice president of Simon and Schuster, had never heard of PSA
until a routine test showed that his was elevated; he had never
thought about prostate cancer as something that could happen to
him. After all, he was asymptomatic, a "fanatic exerciser,"
had given up smoking 20 years ago, and ate carefully.
"I approached what is now the number two (and will shortly
be the number one) killer of men among cancers in total ignorance
at the age of 61," he said at a media briefing given by the
American Cancer Society and the Cancer Research Institute.
His ignorance of the disease was not an exception, he said. "Men
are really in the dark about prostate cancer. If men knew half
as much about prostate cancer as their wives know about breast
cancer, then 41,000 American men a year would not be dying from
He pointed out that women's magazines are replete with articles
about breast cancer, and even the least sophisticated woman probably
knows about breast self-examination and the need for annual check-ups.
Consequently, he said, "although breast cancer once was a
guilty, shameful secret that people died of, it is now an extremely
well-known and well-publicized disease, and it is being treated
very differently than it was 15 to 20 years ago." He stressed
that prostate cancer needs some of that same kind of attention.
"The most important things we can do," he said, "are
to make men realize how widespread the disease is, how dangerous
it is, and, finally, how easy it is to cope with if they have
a yearly physical examination (including a PSA)."
Mr. Korda has helped do just that by recounting his own battle
with the disease in his best-selling book Man to Man: Surviving