Friday, February 26, 2010

Enlarged prostate

That’s the sort of thing one thinks about more often, as one gets older. At least, if one is a oner and not a oness.

A few years ago, I read that 50% of men aged 50 have an enlarged prostate. (How enlarged? The article didn’t say.) Or benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH, which sounds so much less scary. Or possibly more.

The same article said that the rate increases to 60% at age 60. And 70% at age 70. It’s linear!

Surely those numbers were rounded off. My father is almost 101, so I have some hopes of living at least that long myself. Does that mean that I can be 100% sure of having BPH at age 100?

And what happens after that? If every man age 100 or over has BPH, then in order for that line on the graph to continue upward linearly (which of course it has to do because that’s the way it worked in the old science fiction stories I read as a kid, and those are the source for my understanding of the workings of the Universe), then old women would have to start getting BPH, too, which is of course impossible.

Perhaps after age 100, the line suddenly turns downward. If you make it past 100, your prostate starts to shrink again! (I could ask my father, but I hate to give him another reason to talk to me about his prostate gland.)

I can imagine a conversation between an old guy and his doctor.

Doctor: Joe, I have good news and bad news for you.

Joe: What’s the bad news?

Doctor: Those problems you have urinating, it’s because you have BPH. (Explains what that is.) And it’s going to keep getting worse.

Joe: Well, that’s a pisser. Not. What’s the good news?

Doctor: You’re 90 years old. If you can make it for another ten years, your prostate is going to start shrinking again.

Joe: That’s good news? All I have to do is hang on for ten years, and I’ll be able to pee again?

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