Despite years of early screening in the United States, Murray Wadsworth’s prostate cancer was not detected until he was seen by a urologist in London, England, where he was living and working at the time. Soon after, he traveled home to Austin, Texas, to see his long-established urologist, but Wadsworth turned down the recommendation for immediate surgery. Instead, he returned to London to investigate screening methods not yet available in the U.S. While striving to understand why his diligent efforts failed, Wadsworth was shocked by the considerable disparities between the U.S. and international medical communities regarding diagnostic and treatment methods of prostate cancer. He found himself becoming his own patient-detective, patient-scientist, and strong self-advocate.

Following his first treatment in January 2016, Murray embraced life to the fullest, traveling throughout the Rocky Mountains in an RV while researching anticipated additional treatments. That December, Wadsworth tried his second curative attempt, salvage radiotherapy, before embarking on another season in the RV. Before his third RV, Wasdworth’s self-directed efforts took him back to Europe for even better imaging and surgery options unavailable in the U.S. Following the success of this third treatment in 2019, he found a new life purpose: sharing his experiences in his book Prostate Cancer: Sheep or Wolf? Navigating Systemic Misinformation. From campfire talks to book signings – and an increasing number of prostate cancer support groups – Wadsworth is helping men navigate this rarely-discussed yet deadly disease, sometimes one man at a time.

Today, in his seventh RV season and when many men might consider themselves cured, Wadsworth’s is to dive deep into determining whether any pesky cancer cells linger as well as what can be done to eradicate them. His self-directed efforts include graphing his monthly blood test results and two comparative imaging methods that are now available in the US. Murray had one of these imaging tests in Europe nearly five years ago.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Prostate Cancer: Sheep or Wolf? reveals the challenges men face with this disease through the shocking stories of Murray Wadsworth and four other men. In an easy to read style, Wadsworth shares his experiences with established diagnostic and treatment methods in the United States and innovations he benefited from in Europe, including medical consultations in England, advanced imaging in the Netherlands and salvage lymph node surgery in Belgium.

Medically reviewed and professionally edited, Wadsworth’s book reveals just how far behind prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment is in the U.S.—although the book was written four years ago, the tests he benefited from in Europe are only just becoming popular among physicians in America. Wadsworth also shares personal and family aspects of his journey, humor and parallels to his RV experiences. 

QUOTES FROM MURRAY

  • “Men are unnecessarily afraid of screening, which is nothing more than a blood test, simple physical exam, and an MRI.”
  • “Because of all the misinformation, men are often more afraid of treatment side-effects than the cancer itself.” 
  • “A multiparametric MRI or similar should be done before a biopsy, and the biopsy should be guided by imaging – not done blindly.”
  • “Men should quell all fears and appreciate that prostate biopsies are a walk in the park compared to childbirth (or so they say).”
  • “Countries such as England, Belgium, and the Netherlands have advanced prostate cancer diagnostic and treatment modalities. The healthcare business model needs to change in America.”

TALKING POINTS

  • Although it is catching up with Europe, the American healthcare system still requires systemic changers to better serve the immediate and long-term needs of patients.
  • Despite being published three and a half years ago, the investigative techniques and salvage lymph node surgery method Wadsworth benefited from in Europe are only just becoming recognized and utilized by physicians in the U.S.
  • Prostate cancer is not just an old man’s disease, and the lack of early screening is taking an avoidable and regrettable toll on men’s lives, including young men.
  • Over 30,000 American men continue to die each year of this disease, and nearly a half million are on life-altering hormone-blocking drugs.
  • There is no standard established prostate cancer screening program in the U.S. as there is for breast and colon cancer, despite the annual death rate being nearly equivalent to that of breast cancer and greater than that of colon cancer.
  • The U.S. lags behind much of Europe in diagnostic practices. For example, imaging prior to biopsies and after a primary treatment failure is commonplace in much of Europe. In England, Wadsworth received independent biopsy pathology reviews, which must align with independent MRI findings.
  • Socialized medicine institutions – supported by government salaries rather than motivated by individual practices’ monetary gain – are focused on diagnostics to save money. Catching diseases early is cheaper for both the hospital and the patient.

TIMELY TIE-INS

  • September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
  • October is Health Literacy Month
  • November is Men’s Health Awareness Month

PRAISE

“A fascinating journey through the complexities of US healthcare, insurance, and prostate cancer. Where screening is discouraged and treatment options all come with unacceptable side effects. Well researched, but easy to read. As a survivor and physician, I could appreciate both sides of Murray’s dilemma.” –James Thomson, M.D.

“The diagnosis of prostate cancer is a frightening one. Even as a health care provider, it is difficult to keep up with the ever-changing research and recommendations for diagnosis and management of this all too common disease. Prostate Cancer: Sheep or Wolf? does a fabulous job of discussing both the mainstream and the cutting-edge options, and will be immensely helpful to many men as they investigate the alternatives.” –Michael J. Hilts, M.D.

“This is not only a very informative book, but is also exceptionally easy to read – I completed it in one sitting. The author has illustrated the minefield that is the management of intermediate risk prostate cancer. This book is a must-read for those worried about their PSA result and for those who have recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer.” –Dr Eryl A Thomas, MRCP, FRCR Consultant radiologist (retired) James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, England

“Mr. Wadsworth has written a very personal account of his ongoing battle with Prostate cancer. Although not a treatise on treatment of Prostate cancer it does contain and demonstrate several actions that I, as a Physician treating various cancers, feel are important to all patients. All cancers and all cancer patients are unique but this book does provide examples of how to accept and deal with a cancer diagnosis sadly common to many men.” –Jack Walzel, M.D.