This subject of prostate cancer hits very close to home. My husband Tom has just finished his treatment for prostate cancer February 15, 2013. All of our information about prostate cancer came from the VA Hospital in Ann Arbor Michigan. My husband Tom was diagnosed with prostate cancer in November of 2012. The VA Clinic in Lansing, Michigan had been testing Tom’s PSA level every 6 months for 2 years after a routine physical. When the doctor felt Tom’s prostate was enlarged. In November of 2012 Tom’s PSA level rose over 7. 0. Tom’s doctor recommended Tom to have a biopsy done to find out if he had prostate cancer.
A prostate biopsy is where the take 12 samples of the prostate from different areas of the prostate gland. Tom’s biopsy came back 3 of the 12 samples came back positive for cancer, 1 sample on the left side and 2 samples from the right were cancer. Tom’s PSA levels were at a 7. 4 the doctors told Tom he was in Stage 2 of prostate cancer. Tom was sent home with an appointment for 2 weeks later to talk to the doctors about Tom’s treatment options. The doctors gave Tom pamphlets about the treatment options for prostate cancer available thru the VA Hospital. We went to Tom’s 2 week appointment in Ann Arbor Michigan at the VA Hospital.
We talked to the urology doctor he went thru the different types of treatment. Tom and I also spoke to the oncology doctor who also gave the same information on types of treatment for prostate cancer. We were at the VA hospital all day talking with the doctors, And between Tom and I on which option would be best for the both of us. Both options could disrupt the intimacy between, Tom and I so we talked over both types of treatment. But with surgery ED could become permanent for 95% of men with radiation most men get back 75% to 90% of sexual function back. The oncology doctor, Dr.
Steinmark was the first to talk to us about treatment options surgery or radiation and the affects they would have on Tom’s and my life together. Dr. Steinmark wanted us to make the best choice for us. After talking to Dr. Steinmark we were sent down to the urology department in the VA Hospital to talk to the urologist Dr. we don’t remember his name. But Tom and I both felt the Dr. was trying to talk Tom into prostate surgery more than radiation. We asked questions on how the surgery would affect our love life. The doctor explained that we would be dealing with ED after the surgery.
After talking to both doctors we were set up with a one week appointment to let the doctors know our decision. When we (Tom and I) got home I got online and looked for information and treatment options for Tom. I also read the pamphlets from the doctors at the VA Hospital. Tom and I talked over the options and what we wanted to happen at this point in time. We also started talking about the amount of time off from work if he had surgery. Prostate surgery takes about 6 to 8 weeks to heal because it is a long cut surgery (large open incision in the groin area).
Tom and I were told there is a new procedure where the surgery is done by robot. With the robot only 3 small incisions are made and most patients are able to go back to normal activities in 2 or 3 weeks. But, the VA Hospital in Ann Arbor is not equipped with the robotic surgeon. So if surgery is selected it is what the doctor called the old fashion. For most men as we were told it could take 6 to 8 weeks or longer to heal and return to a normal routine. When Tom and I went back to the VA Hospital to talk to both doctors again, Tom told the urologist that he wanted to go with radiation therapy instead of surgery.
Tom also talked to his dad who went thru just the radiation therapy and he did well. The doctors were all to get rid of all the cancer in his prostate. So after talking to the urologist, Tom and I went to talk to Dr. Steinmark the head of the oncology department and Tom’s doctor. Tom told Dr. Steinmark about his choice for radiation therapy. Tom started asking more questions about the effects of the radiation treatment on our love life. Dr. Steinmark said that “if things were good before treatment that a few weeks after treatment things would get back close to what we had, but not 100%.
But we had to wait and see how the radiation affects you Tom”. But now we need to set an appointment to put 3 gold seeds in your prostate as markers for the radiation therapy. After the markers are inserted to the prostate gland, then set another appointment to do a CAT scan to make sure the markers are still in place. Then after that Tom with be set up for 9 weeks of radiation therapy after the therapy is completed a 3 month appointment to check the new PSA Levels are and for a year every 3 months to make sure the PSA Levels are staying the same.
Every man from the age of 50 on should have a yearly prostate exam. Now if there have been family members who have had prostate exams as early as age 35. With Tom’s family, Tom’s two older brothers were diagnosed in their 40’s. Tom’s dad was diagnosed in October 2011. Tom’s dad just finished his 91 days of radiation treatments in June 2012. For some family prostate cancer can be hereditary, for some men it could be genetic. There are 4 different stages for prostate cancer. Stage 1 cancer is found in the prostate only, Stage 1 prostate cancer may also be called A1.
Stage 11, the cancer is more advanced but has not spread outside the prostate Stage 11 prostate cancer may also be called A2. Stage 111 cancer has spread to beyond the outer layer of the prostate to nearby tissues. Cancer may be found in the seminal vesicles. Stage 111 prostate cancer may also be called Stage C. Stage IV prostate cancer has metastasized (spread) to lymph nodes near or far from the prostate or to other parts of the body, such as bladder, rectum, bones, liver or lungs. Metastatic prostate cancer often spreads to the bones.
Stage IV prostate cancer may also be call Stage D1 or D2. The doctors will discuss with the patient which stage the patient is in and the best course for treatment. The will also give the patient pamphlets on the different choice of treatment for prostate cancer. There are 2 types of treatment available for prostate cancer, surgery or radiation therapy or both surgery and radiation therapy depending what stage the prostate cancer is at when found and how aggressive the doctor wants to attack the prostate cancer.
Signs that a man could possibly have prostate cancer are frequent need to urinate, especially at night, difficulty starting or stopping a stream of urine, a painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation. Systems of advanced prostate cancer include: dull incessant deep pain or stiffness in pelvis, lower back, ribs, or upper thighs, loss of weight and appetite, fatigue, nausea, or vomiting. Now depending on what type of doctor the patient talks to, if the doctor is an urologist he/she feels that surgery is a better why for the patient to go for quantity of life better survival rate for patients.
If the doctor is an oncologist he/she feel that radiation is a better choice for the patient as far as quality and quantity goes. Prostate cancer is a slow growing cancer and most patients. Life expectancies can be 15 to 20 years after prostate cancer is found. Oncologist feel radiation is less invasive and most patients can resume a close to normal sex life. But with surgery patients need implants to help achieve an erection and with implants the patient could have some loss of feeling in the pelvis area.
I feel that patients should read up on as much information they can find, and ask questions no matter how embarrassing they feel they may be, if you are married or in a relationship prostate cancer affects both partners and their lives together. I also found a website www. hifu. ca/prostate-cancer-alternative-treatment. htm. For Maple Leaf HIFU prostate cancer Alternative treatments, called Ablatherm HIFU: Transrectal High Intensity Focused Ultrasound. The Ablatherm is a medical device piloted by a computer. The computer is designed to treat localized prostate cancer using a high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU).
While patient is under a spinal anesthetic with IV sedation. The doctor inserts an ultrasound probe into the rectum to map the exact outline of the prostate gland. Using this map high intensity ultrasound waves are delivered through the rectal wall precisely focused on the prostate. The focusing produces intense heat and causes destruction of the tissue inside the targeted area without damaging surrounding tissues. This treatment can take 2 to 2 ? hours. The rates of impotence and urinary incontinence are much lower than any other forms of prostate cancer therapy.
There are 2 others types of treatment called Brachytherapy and Cryotherapy. Brachytherapy during this treatment 50 – 150 small radioactive seeds are implanted into the prostate gland using 20 – 40 needles. This procedure is usually completed under general anesthesia (2 – 3 hours). It is recommended that the patient avoid children and pregnant women for 2 months after the seeds are implanted. Now Brachytherapy cannot be utilized when a patient has symptoms of prostate obstruction, when he has a Gleason stage above 6, or when he has had a previous transurethral resection of the prostate.
Cryotherapy is another type of treatment for prostate cancer. In Cryotherapy the prostate is frozen solid. Ultrasound guidance controls the extent of the freeze. This procedure is done under anesthesia and requires at least an overnight stay in the hospital. This technology has improved in recent years but is still associated with a very high incidence of impotence and urinary incontinence. In addition fistulae (or holes) between the prostate and rectum can occur, especially in patients who have had unsuccessful EBRT.
There are also a large number of patients who undergo Cryotherapy after unsuccessful EBRT who experience pelvic and or rectal pain. References: Pamphlets from Ann Arbor VA Hospital are written by Dr. Steve Steinmark…
Survival rate of men radiation therapy vs. surgery Online information came from the da Vinci Prostatectomy. com Tewan A, Raman JD, Chang P, Roa S, Divine G, Menon M, long-term survival Probabilities Online www. cancerfightingstrategies Maple Leaf HIFU www. hifu. ca/prostate-cancer-alternative-treatment. htm.