I was diagnosed with Prostate cancer as the result of a routine physical. The DRE did not reveal a concern but the blood tests over a number of years showed a rising PSA. Reading the many testimonies on this site and others has made me very grateful that I had developed the discipline of an annual physical exam with a full blood test including PSA screening. My PSA was 1.8 in 2005, 2.3 in 2006 2.8 in 2007 and between 3.1 and 3.4 since my last physical/ subsequent biopsy and diagnosis. My Gleason Score was 7 (3+4) on the first pathology report and then a second opinion gave me a score of 6 /(3+3). Of course my doctor didn't even mention prostate cancer to me until this last PSA and I while it would be easy to wish he had sent me for a biopsy a year earlier, the stories on this site make me thankful he was at least as aggressive as he was.
After a lot of research and input from others I have opted for Proton Radiation Therapy at Loma Linda University Medical Center. They have equivalent or better cure rates, with much lower incidence of side affects, to say nothing of the impact of the various surgeries themselves. There are several reasons I believe others do not opt for this treatment:
- They don't know about it, Proton Therapy is currently done at only five locations in America due to the cost of building the proton accelerator etc. which is over US$100 million
- They are referred by their doctor to a urologist, and of course urologists want to do surgery and we want to trust our doctors (many of whom are less than candid about their success rates)
- Proton Therapy is more expensive and not covered by all insurances though if the right process is pursued it is very difficult for them to decline you
- Proton Therapy is misunderstood to be like other radiation which it is not
- Patients cannot manage to be away from their homes for the required approximately 45 treatments which take 10 weeks to complete.
In any event, I began my treatments on January 8 2009 with no discernable effects so far, and very little discomfort.
Well I jumped back into life after my radiation at Loma Linda Medical Center in Loma Linda California. Ten weeks away was a long time. After 45 treatments it felt a little strange to have them simply say goodbye, with no further diagnosis or anything, but I had 4 more months to wait before my first blood test. Even though I was working and very busy it was always in the back of my mind. I felt more frequently tired at the end of the day,and I think that accounted for a decrease in libido. Another side affect was a persistent inability to have a normal bowel movement. Instead I had to go 5 our six times every morning before noon to clear out my system. I am already seeing improvement in that area.
Though I was working and very occupied the impending blood test was always in the back of my mind. My first test came back mid July and I was so excited to see that my PSA had droppped to 1.09. When I had my regular physical a month later I was curious and asked my doctor to add PSA to my regular blood tests, and it came back .08. So I am VERY pleased with these results. MY PSA IS FREE FALLING AND I DID NOT HAVE TO RISK THE SIDE EFFECTS OF SURGERY.
I am now two years since diagnosis. I have a falling PSA (now 0.60 ng/ml) , and no significant side effects.
I am very thankful to God and to the wonderful people at Loma Linda Medical Center.
By January of 2011 my PSA was back up. 1.8 in January, 1.1 in March after antibiotic treatment, 1.5 in August 2011, and back to 1.1 after more antibiotic treatment. 1.55 in March of 2012 and after my local urologist did a urine test which showed no bacterial infection he refused further antibiotic and that's where it now stands. My urologist says I would have to rise 2.0 from my nadir of .6 to have clinical recurrence.
If have seen a late spike in PSA to 1.8 and then waited 3 months and it was down to 1.01. My nadir had been .6 so who knows . . . maybe prostatitis?? Who knows, watching but not worried. Everything else works normal with mild side effects only.