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Bassam Hassouna and Jane lived in Kuwait. He was 54 when he was diagnosed in June, 2007. His initial PSA was 220.00 ng/ml, his Gleason Score was 6, and he was staged T1c. His choice of treatment was ADT-Androgen Deprivation (Hormone). Here is his story.

I was accidentally diagnosed when I had my annual routine physical. Obviously, I had some mild symptoms that my doctor got them confused with haemorrhoids. Other than that I was and still feel great and fit. My cancer has already widely spread to my spine and ribs, as well as few lymph nodes.

I started hormonal treatment, consisting of two types tablets and injection, ten days ago after completing biopsy and every other possible test in Kuwait and Jordan. My results were evaluated by specialists in Kuwait, USA, Jordan, and other countries.

I am getting the highest available hormone dose due to the aggressiveness nature of my cancer. Oncologist will have me do PSA test every month. I will get another bone scan every 6 months to determine the progress. I shall keep updating this post every month or so.

UPDATED

July 2007

Now it is July 24th, and since my last update very little happened other than my oncologist recommended that I should get a monthly Zometa IV for my bones. I agreed and had the first one last week. The side effects were bearable and were consistent with the warning I got.

I also had "baseline PSA" and other blood work tests, the PSA was a bit higher than when I was diagnosed, and that is normal as I explained, it is called a Zoladex flare.

My next PSA test will be during the 4th week of August to allow the Zoladex and Casodex to work.

UPDATED

October 2007

Since my last update and after 4 months on hormonal treatment: Zoladex every 12 weeks, Casodex daily and Zometa every month the following developments happened:

August 25th; 1st monitoring tests - 6 weeks after starting the treatment: PSA dropped from 220 ng/ml when diagnosed to 7.2 ng/ml after 6 weeks of starting treatment. My wife, me, my urologist and the medical oncologist were all very encouraged. Symptoms improved a lot, very mild back and bone pain, mild pelvis pain, lots of hot flashes though.

Sept 24th; second monitoring tests - 10 weeks after starting treatment: PSA jumped to 19.7 ng/ml, increased pain in pelvis area, increased urination frequency, increased hips bone pain. All these symptoms escalated during the 9th and 10 weeks. Oncologist was concerned and ordered a re-test after a full physical exam. Treatment continued.

October 4th; a retest of PSA showed even higher number(49.7 ng/ml). Oncologist ordered a bone scan, C-Scan, another PSA test. Had blood samples taken yesterday (Oct 9th), Bone scan conducted today (October 10th), C-Scan scheduled for 17th, as we have holidays in Kuwait. Pain in pelvis area and hips has substantially decreased. However, oncologist suggested that chemotherapy and radiation maybe needed soon in addition to the hormonal treatment. If the bone scan and C-scan indicate that the cancer has progressed in the pelvis area only, then he most likely will apply radiation to the area and chemo to counter further progression. He tends to classify the situation as partial hormone refractory cancer rather than full refractory, but the bone scan will determine which classification to adopt.

Overall, I feel OK, come to work daily, party as normal and maintain high spirit.

I will keep you updated about the outcome of these tests.

UPDATED

January 2008

After my last update, I had my bone scan and C-Scan completed. Bone scan showed stable disease, no new progression. C-Scan showed reduced cancer in Prostate and Lymph nodes. However, severe back bone pain developed and PSA continued to increase from forties to 80 over a period of 8 weeks.

Oncologist suggested keeping the 12 weeks Zoladex, stopping Flutomide and start radiation to lower back, to which I agreed. Pain was substantially reduced at lower back, but started rapidly increasing all over my spine, pelvis and rips and PSA continued to increase.

Oncologist strongly suggested starting chemo ( Emcyt 140 mg) last November. Two rounds of Emcyt so far helped reduce the pain to a very low level and PSA started slowly dropping, now at 69.8 ng/ml. I have to take a weekly injection to increase the hemoglobin which dropped to the low 9.

Currently I feel much better than last month, have much more energy and almost pain free. I will keep you updated.

UPDATED

March 2008

Since my last update when I was put on austramustine chemo therapy, PSA paused for some weeks then resumed increasing to reach 155.0 ng/ml at present. Some mild symptoms developed in the process, with the exception of a progression to the base of the skull that caused a problem with controlling my tongue, swallowing in addition to severe pain on the left side of the skull. Oncologists prescribed methadexazone which reduced the pain and improved the tongue situation.

The last evaluation meeting 2 days ago resulted in a decision to stop Emcyt (austramustine) and start Taxotere within a couple of weeks. I am glad to stop the austramustine as its side effects are annoying in many ways. In-spite of all of this I remain active and come to work every day enjoying my life.

UPDATED

November 2008

Bassam Hassouna's son Kareem Hassounah mailed with the sad news that his father had passed on. He said:

[Last June the cancer spread to his liver and he died October 13th. He had a very aggressive and uncontrollable strain and he certainly did not deserve it.]


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