View Full Version : Prostate Cancer
03-27-2002, 04:47 AM
My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer yesterday. He'll be 60 in June. His father had prostate cancer, but died without too many problems of it at the age of 87. His brother has it, too, and it has returned recently after the doctors thought they had gotten it out for good.
The docs are saying they caught it at a very early stage, in my father's case. Therefore, the chances of a complete recovery without any permanent side effects are rather good.
Are there any Dopers that have been in this situation before? I've read up on the disease, and rationally, I know my dad's probably gonna be OK for the next ten years if not more. But I am interested in hearing stories from people in similar situations.
03-27-2002, 04:49 AM
Just to add: my grandfather didn't die of prostate cancer, he was just diagnosed with it in his early 80's.
03-27-2002, 04:57 AM
No info. Different types of the disease have touched my family :mad:
Just posting to say I wish you and your family the best of luck It's been caught early and if you take after your Da he must be one strong SOB :)
All the best
03-27-2002, 05:41 AM
My father-in-law had his prostate removed almost 2 years ago. He was 70 then. His thinking was "I want the cancer out NOW!" and he refused to consider alternatives. He dealt with incontinence for a year before having a valve implanted so he could control his bladder output. Nothing could be done for his impotence, and I know that was a very difficult adjustment for both of my in-laws. However, he's as active as ever, and pretty amazing for a 72-y/o!
When he was first diagnosed with prostate cancer, we did some research. As I recall, the reports we read said chances are if a man lives long enough, he'll get it. But it's a slow-growing cancer in most cases and more than likely it will not kill the man - old age or some other condition will. I also seem to recall a new treatment involving implants that have low-level radiation placed right next to the cancerous areas. Certainly if/when my husband has to deal with it, we'll investigate the options.
As for your father, chances are that this will just be a blip on the screen. Early detection and treatment are always good things. I won't tell you not to worry, but I'd bet that everything will be fine. Best to you and your family!!
03-27-2002, 05:47 AM
I hope everything works out well Coldie. My understanding too is that prostate cancer is not as objectively scary as some of the other big Cs. But who can be objective?
Wishing you well.
03-27-2002, 08:00 AM
Welcome to the club, Coldfire - my grandfather died of prostate cancer at age 62, and my Dad was diagnosed in his mid 50's. He had surgery and is now 66. He has had other related problems - the radiation treatments he received aggravated a couple of other conditions he had, but he is alive, and I am thankful.
Bottom line: For the most part, there is thought that if a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer past the age of 70, it may not be worth treating it, since it is typically a slow growth cancer in men of that age, and the discomfort of treatment may not be worth it since the man would probably (forgive the morbidness of all this) die of something else before succumbing to the cancer.
For men younger than that, the PSA test (prostate specific antigen) test, coupled with the DRE (everyone's fave - the digital rectal exam), need to be done annually for early detection. In my case, since both my dad and grandfather got it pretty young, it is especially important that I get tested annually (yucky, but necessary). It may be the case for you, too.
As for your dad, if they caught it early, he should be okay - with my dad, they didn't really catch it early (PSA's were just getting common about 10 years ago), but he treated it aggressively and is doing okay. I believe that there are 4 stages of prostate cancer - 1st (or A) is least worrisome/most treatable and 4th (or D) is worst, with the cancer metastisizing to the surrounding bones and tissue. Depending on what stage your dad is at, the odds vary for survivability and/or changes to lifestyle post-treatment.
One last thought: check with either the American Cancer Society or local hospitals in your area by phone or the web to see if they have prostate cancer support groups. My dad runs one in California and gets amazing feedback from attendees who get value from it. Encourage your dad to go.
Get yourself check annually and good luck to your father.
03-27-2002, 08:09 AM
Thanks for all the responses and well wishes, guys.
Wordman: I'm 29. My father said the doctor told him that I wasn't in immediate danger, since prostate cancer doesn't manifest itself at that age yet. Although I guess an annual check-up wouldn't hurt. Well, maybe it would. :eek: ;)
Support groups, well, although they may be of great help to many people, I don't think my father would be fond of them. In addition, my entire family qualifies as a cancer support group, I guess.
03-27-2002, 08:32 AM
Coldy , the general rule of thumb (eewww!) is that if you have the history that you do (same with me) you should start getting annual PSA's and DRE's at age 35. Mark your calendar.
As for the support group, YMMV. My dad is the exact opposite of a joiner, too, but when he got involved in running it, then took it over, it appealed to him, and he learned more about his condition and was able to help others.
03-27-2002, 08:35 AM
OK, the next person to make a joke about fingers will be taken out and shot. ;)
Thanks for the info, Wordman, I certainly will make sure I get my check-ups. And luckily, it'll be 6 more years before a complete stranger will ask me to bend over, and I will comply. ;)
03-27-2002, 08:36 AM
Just a good word for Clog-Dad.
03-27-2002, 08:56 AM
I got my first prostate exam 2 years ago at age 32. Maybe we yanks just have wimpier prostates that need more coddling.
I remember at the end of the physical, the doctor said "Now for the worst part, the digital exam." I remember thinking "Great, they have a new way to check the prostate."
That kind of digit.
My citeless statistic (which I do remember coming from a reputable source, but I just can't remember it) is that about 50 percent of men who died from something other than prostate cancer, actually had the disease, but that it had never shown any symptoms.
That definitely seems to be one of the "better" cancers to have.
03-27-2002, 08:57 AM
Darn. That second to last paragraph should refer to men who died of old age, unrelated to prostate cancer.
03-27-2002, 09:47 AM
Hell, despite a complete lack of prostate cancer in my family I've been checked for enlargement since I was a teen! Pervy doctors!
The scene is a doctor's office in 1977. I'm getting examined by the first female doctor I've met, and she's kinda cute. She checks me for a hernia, the classic in which she takes me by the scrotum and I turn my head and cough. Ol' Roscoe down there isn't real smart and only knows that a cute girl has him by the balls so he begins to rise to the occasion.
"Hmmmm, I guess we don't need to give you a prostate exam."
03-27-2002, 09:53 AM
Nothing to add to the above, only positive vibes for your father and your family, Coldy. Take care.
03-27-2002, 12:21 PM
More good thoughts going out to Clog-Dad, Coldie.
My FIL was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the fall of 2000, shortly after he turned 59. He needed a general physical (I can't remember why), and it turned up PSA (prostate-specific antigen?) levels that were still low, but noticeably higher than his previous checkup. So they went looking and found the cancer, but a lot earlier than they normally would've.
He's been treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. The latter has been with little radioactive 'seeds' implanted around the cancerous area.
He's testing clean, but physically he's still recovering. But that has a lot to do with his having a physically demanding job, and needing to keep working to keep his health insurance. Otherwise, I think he'd be fine by now.
So I'd say your dad's chances of a full recovery are excellent.
On the subject of prostate exams, I'm in that age range, and while it isn't something to look forward to, it isn't a big deal either. It doesn't last long, doesn't hurt, and isn't particularly uncomfortable. (Of course, it helps that my doctor's a woman - cute, too. :))
03-27-2002, 02:20 PM
I remember a doctor being interviewed on TV on this topic and he said something to the effect that "most men who live to old age will die *with* prostate cancer, however, extremely few will die *from* prostate cancer". He said it progresses *very* slowly and rarelly kills.
03-27-2002, 08:16 PM
I am not a male...therefore i can not speak personally on the topic. However, I am a nurse. I have worked wth men who have gone through similar situations as members of you family, and i have seen some great success stories! If they have cought things early in your fathers case, then he is a very fortunate man. Treatment has come a very long way, he is in good hands.
I do have one suggestion for you....I am not sure how old you are, but with the family history you have described, I would suggest you get yourself checked at a young age.
I wish you and your family the very best!
03-28-2002, 05:26 AM
Originally posted by RTFirefly
He's been treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. The latter has been with little radioactive 'seeds' implanted around the cancerous area.Yeah, my dad mentioned that treatment too. Sounds very weird, but it actually has great results, or so I hear.
Raini, I'm 29. But from what I've heard so far, I'll make sure to get a regular check-up from now on.
03-28-2002, 10:17 AM
My father opted to not have any treatment too, but they did find out that the prostate cancer spread to the bone.
03-28-2002, 10:21 AM
Dad had prostate Cancer in 1993, at the age of 53. He had his prostate removed.
They didn't catch it real late, nor very early. But, the absolute most effective thing at the time was complete removal.
It was terrible at first, because for months, and even for over a year to a lesser degree, there was some incontinence issues. Also, sexual function is either destroyed or almost totally disrupted forever.
My dad is, and always was, much younger than his age. Looks like Al Pacino.
Well, in cases where removal is the decision, there are terrible side effects that can be overcome, especially when the removal is so effective.
I get checked yearly (34 years old). Six month checks after 40.
Actually, the rectal exam, while good for picking up prostate issues/enlargement, isn't the best cancer check. I believe the blood test which scans for a certain something (psa count??) is the real test.
Radiation and local chemo is are leaps and bounds better than 10 years ago.
03-28-2002, 05:39 PM
It seems the better the surgeon is, the better he is in not cutting the important nerves in the prostate. Still, I thought Viagra was a fix for this post-surgery-prostate-nerve-cut ?
03-28-2002, 09:02 PM
I wish your father the best of luck, Coldie. His chances are excellent.
Most men over 80 have a focus of prostate cancer, and is the second leading cause of cancer death in men. Often without symptoms, it sometimes presents with urinary retention, decreased force of the urinary stream, post-void dribbling, lymphedema, weight loss or back pain.
Diagnosis is suggested by clinical history, a palpable nodule on digital rectal exam or a markedly elevated PSA. Unfortunately, the PSA by itself is a poor test and there are many things which cause a false positive. The change in PSA over time may be more useful. The scary truth is that both DRE and PSA are mediocre tests. Still, there is probably little benefit to DREs routinely before the age of 40.
The medical treatment of prostate disease is excellent. Given that Viagra usually does NOT reverse the impotence caused in up to 50% of surgeries, I would tend to consider medicine and radiotherapy before surgery. Ironically, this cancer is cureable even when severe if it can be diagnosed by biopsy before metastasizing to the liver, spine, bowel or lungs.
My father had prostate cancer. It was caught early and treated by surgery and has had a clean bill of health for the past 7 years.
Glad they caught it early. I have so say medically they have had many advancements in this area.
03-28-2002, 09:56 PM
Is it true that ALL men will get prostate cancer, if they just live long enough?
vBulletin® v3.7.3, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.