I am trying to get up to speed for a looming decision in two weeks (today is Jan. 6, 2016). I have had my prostate removed on Nov. 17, 2015 due to a PSA:14, positive DRE, Gleason 7 (4+3). Post-surgery pathology report showed cancer in seminal vesicles and that cancer had left the capsule. After a few weeks for healing we returned to the surgeon, had a new PSA which came back = 2.0 (we were told 99% of men my age at that point in the process would have come back PSA=0.0) The surgeon recommended waiting two weeks to perform another PSA test in the slim chance that the PSA is still receding. Our preliminary options were for radiation and hormone therapy, but I have some questions that I am appealing for your help in understanding.
My understanding is that all cancer is not alike. I used to think cancer grew at a standard rate no matter the location, but now I understand that the rate generally is dependent upon the site and this is why it can be stated that prostate cancer is a notoriously slow grower (what IS the general rate of growth of prostate cancer?). OK, if I have had the major part of my cancer removed with the prostate, but I still have PROSTATE cancer cells growing in my body at a magnitude that shows up as PSA=2.0, haven't I gained a considerable amount of Life Minutes due to the time it will take the residual cells to grow and cause problems elsewhere? Instead of radiating and dealing with MORE side effects, why wouldn't I want to simply keep tabs on the PSA and deal with this later down the road? Approximately how long would it take these slow-growing cells to create a tumor/tumors of sufficient size to either (a) show up as PSA > 4.0, or (b) become a problem?
First, I'm glad I chose robotic surgery. Second, I'm glad I chose Radiation to clean up cancer cells that were missed by the surgery. I am now in the 6 month PSA testing mode. The only change (although significant) to my life has been ED, which we have recently chosen to address with injections. A tolerable choice given the alternatives. the other change is that if I have to fart, I sometimes leak a small amount of urine. The sphincter now controls the flow of urine where the prostate did before, so when you relax the sphincter to fart, you also open the urethra. It's a truly minor inconvenience. One final note: I recommend every man (and woman) read 'The China Study' by T. Colin Campbell. Compelling scientific data regarding what we should be eating. Dairy is not scientifically suited for us humans, and there is a Harvard clinical trial statistically linking dairy to prostate cancer which corroborates this. This is information that is too late for many of us, but it may dispel some confusion for those of us puzzled by our contraction of cancer.
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