Dalrymple discusses a disappointing anti-cancer drug, and his own avoidance of doctors, at Pajamas Media:
Of course, it might be argued that the avoidance of death, important as it undoubtedly is, cannot be the sole purpose of life in general or of medicine in particular. We do not visit the doctor only that he might prevent us from dying. And it might well be that the avoidance of a diagnosis of prostate cancer brings with it immense benefits from the point of view of quality of life: for if you are diagnosed with a cancer, however benign it is supposed to be, your anxiety is likely to be raised and you will be subjected to medical procedures that may themselves be unpleasant or even hazardous…So finasteride might do some good even if it does not save life.
On the other hand, like all drugs, finasteride has its side effects. And one has to remember to take it to obtain even its muted benefits, which is a bit of a nuisance. All in all, the paper is not encouraging: except to me, of course, who wants desperately to have to do nothing for the sake of my health. This paper provides me with a partial justification for my inaction. I’ll wait for my symptoms to develop, and then we’ll see.