I was told 10 days ago that I have prostate cancer. My PSA was elevated so I went in for a biopsy. The doctor asked me if I wanted to participate in a study, which would be no cost to me, that involved doing an MRI of the prostate. He said it would let them better understand and see if there were spots of concern that a random biopsy might miss. I agreed and participated in the study. When I went in for the biopsy the doctor told me the results of the MRI and that they had found an area that they were "very concerned" about. He said that it was on the backside of the prostate and was in an area that they don't normally biopsy because is is difficult to reach. Needless to say, that was the area he got two positive samples from (the other ten were negative). I am very lucky that I got to participate in the MRI study otherwise the biopsy would have been all negative and the cancer would keep growing causing me a much bigger problem down the road. If you're recommended for a biopsy be sure to ask about the MRI study; it may have saved my life.
Since I was diagnosed I have been reading a ton of articles on my treatment options and will be meeting the surgeon and the radiation oncologist in the coming weeks. What has been frustrating is that there are no unbiased articles on the treatment choices. Everyone wants to protect their own turf. Even my Urologist was advocating surgery and was somewhat dismissive about Proton therapy saying that it wasn't very good. This dismissiveness annoyed me and got me doing even more reading I will keep an open mind and listen to what they have to say but at this point I am leaning heavily toward Proton therapy. It has been successful and is growing in popularity and seems to have the fewest side effects. I am fortunate to live in the Cleveland area where University Hospitals recently opened a Proton Therapy lab and my insurance will cover it.
I am very glad I found this website. I will be giving updates as to my decision and treatment experience. I wanted to share my story from the beginning as it may be helpful to others who, like me, are just starting down this difficult road.
Stay healthy and God Bless.
After meeting with the surgeon and the radiation oncologist, I have decided to do Proton Therapy. It is cutting edge and is, in my mind, the best option for someone who's cancer was caught early like mine. It also has the fewest side effects. I was thrown a curve ball though. In my meeting with the radiation oncologist, who will be performing the treatment, I was told that the first step is to get hormone therapy. This involves a shot of estrogen which will last 4 months. The idea is to shrink the prostate so they will have a more confined target. The actual Proton therapy starts 2 months after the shot during which time there will be prep work. I was not expecting this as none of the numerous articles I read mentioned this. I will do it of course; some of the side effects will be "Hot flashes". My wife said we will be able to flash together. The doctor assured me I won't have crying fits or develop a desire to watch "Glee". :-) I get the shot this coming Tuesday afternoon, Sept 27th, so the 4 month journey begins.
Keep a sense of humor and God Bless.
I'm sorry for not updating sooner. I began the Proton Therapy treatments the week before Christmas and finished the 44 treatments on Feb 27th. My PSA before the treatments began was 6.2 and my PSA as of a week ago was 0.14! They told me it could take up to a year for the PSA to decrease to near zero but mine did it in less than a month. I am a big fan of Proton Therapy; almost no side effects and a better quality of life. However, no one at Seidman Cancer Center said anything about the balloon until the we were close to starting. Well, you get used to it pretty fast and you don't mind about losing all modesty. I will update when they do the next PSA test.
Good health everyone!
Rob's e-mail address is: robh3314 AT gmail.com (replace "AT" with "@")