My PSA value rose slowly over several years. I did not notice until it reached 5.6. The previous level was 3.9 one year ago. In the US this level is not flagged. If it had been 4.0 it would have been flagged and noticed. My physician did not notice the slow and then more rapid progression of the values (velocity).
I am a medical technologist with some experience evaluating these results but at the time we were concerned with blood sugar and lipid screening. 12 biopsies were completed with 7 positive. 70% max. 3+4 Gleason score. C/T and bone scan negative. The disease appears to be confined to the prostate.
I did major research and decided on proton therapy the procedures will be done in Jacksonville, Florida about 200 miles from my home. I will have to live there during the week for about 8 weeks. This will be disruptive but necessary. I am not expecting to begin treatments until early next year. I would prefer sooner but these things take time. The cancer appears to be growing slowly so I am not overly concerned. My insurance has agreed to help with the cost. Without the insurance I would have little choice but to have traditional photon therapy, brachytherapy or prostate removal.
The cancer is considered to be significant and watch and wait was not a viable choice. If you are interested in my progress feel free to email me and I will give more details and share my experience.
Please wish me luck. [I have, in wishing Ross luck, also told him we expect him to post his updates as time goes by - that's what YANA is all about - sharing experiences.]
Update to Proton Therapy at UF/Shands Proton Therapy Institute.
I am presently in a study to determine if a higher radiation dose each day for 6 weeks is as effective as the 8 week course of radiation that has been traditionally used. This is known as hypofractionization. If this study is successful it may go a long way towards a decrease in the cost of this treatment. Presently the cost of proton therapy is a major factor when considering this treatment as a viable course of action.
So far the treatments are going very well. Today I will have treatment number 20 of 29. The side effects include some urgency (moderate in my case) and frequency (mostly at night). I am up about every 2 hours. This may be partially due to the fact that we are encouraged to drink about 98 oz (about 3.0 liters) of water each day. I also have a dull ache in the prostate area. All symptoms are somewhat elevated by the use of over the counter remedies.
I am pleased with the progress of my treatment. Recent studies seem to indicate that this treatment is effective and has a minimum of side effects. [There are no clear definitive independent studies that show clearly that any one therapy is better than any other therapy. This applies in paticular to hypofractionalisation therapies.] For more information regarding use of the proton beam to treat cancer please use a search engine on the internet. [Or go to the Choosing a Treatment page on the Yana site] I found that Wikipedia has a brief and concise description. You may also email me directly for my take on the therapy. I am biased as it seems to be the treatment of choice for my particular disease process.
Good luck and thanks for reading about my experience.
Update regarding the PSA from 05/22/2012. Trend continues down now at 1.2 from high of 6.8.
Received word that my PSA stayed the same at about 6 month. The result is 1.2 and my case manager says don't stress because it stayed the same. These are good numbers.
My most recent PSA blood drawn about 10/22/12 is 1.3 up from 1.2 at 6 months but about what is expected. So far so good.
My PSA has dropped to 1.0 and there is much celebration here in Florida. Side effects are mostly over with only the occasional blood in the stool. That was expected and hasn't effected my life style or my hemaglobin level.
The currect PSA (0.5) at 18 months is a significant drop from the 15 month value. This is a good indication of the effectiveness of the Proton Therapy and portends well for a long term cure.
This is the PSA update at 2 years post treatment (0.5). Very pleased with Proton Therapy and would encourage those interested to investigate this avenue of therapy.
My PSA continues the slow but steady decline. Proton Therapy was the correct choice for me. No or very slight side effects to report.
I choose Proton Therapy. It was one of the most important choices I have made. 4 years cancer free.
Ross's e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org