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Old 02-29-2020, 11:12 PM   #1
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You check your oil, have you checked your PSA lately?

Of all the threads Iíve started on here this is by far the most difficult Iíve written. The reason? I have prostate cancer. Well, actually I have Metastasized Prostate Cancer.

About 2 months ago a long time friend of mine that Iíve met for coffee every Thursday for the past 25 or so years told me he had prostate cancer and was going to have his prostate removed. Iím 73 and heís several years younger than I am. He asked me when the last time I had my PSA checked and I couldnít honestly tell him.

A quick call to my local VA medical center disclosed that I had my last PSA test done when I was 70. I asked them why they didnít do it every year when I had my physical done and they hid behind the recommendation of the CDC that says something about not doing them for men over 70. I asked them why and they said they didnít know, thatís just what the CDC recommends.

Quite frankly, I feel like they let me down. I assumed (Yeah, I knowÖ) they did that every year as part of my blood work. Had they told me they didnít routinely screen for PSA after a certain age Iíd have requested the test be done.

So, I had blood drawn and had a PSA test done and the results were sky high. High enough that they rushed through an approval for the VA to pick up the tab for me to see a urologist. I did, they did another PSA test and confirmed the reading and scheduled me for a CT Scan and MRI so they could determine the extent of the spread of the cancer cells.

So now that we know the cancer cells have spread throughout my body, attaching itself to bones at several locations in this otherwise perfect male specimen, they scheduled me to see an Oncologist.

So here I sit, writing this thread which took several beers before I could bring myself to do it. Iím facing 6 months of chemo treatments, one every 3 weeks. Nobody is predicting this is going to end my life early, in fact the only thing they are predicting at this point is that at the end of the 6 months theyíll reassess how things are going and likely put me on another type of treatment.

The odd thing is that I have ZERO symptoms. No pain, no joint stiffness, nothing. Iím sure after I start the chemo Iíll go through the usual nausea, maybe some vomiting, possible hair loss, but nobody can even say that with any certainty.

The chemo drug(s) are a type of poison designed to kill the cancer cells. Thatís the good thing. The bad thing is itís still a poison and it may wreak havoc on me.

One thing is for certain: I am NOT going to let this kick my butt either mentally or physically. I look at this as a speed bump. Iím going to get over it then get my life back up to speed. Thereís just too damn many things I have yet to accomplish in my life.

So, back to the question I posed in the title: When was the last time you had your PSA tested? Donít let them tell you that because youíve reached a certain age you donít need your PSA tested. Bull crap. Get it done. Get it done this spring, and preferably before the next time you check the oil in your boat.

I didnít write this thread looking for sympathy. Thatís now how I roll. I wrote it with the hopes that some of you old farts out there who donít know when you last had it tested will get your butt in gear and go see your doctor.

Smooth waters, light winds and fair skies.
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Old 02-29-2020, 11:57 PM   #2
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ever wonder where the incentive to keep us old timers alive past our prime has gone.
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Old 03-01-2020, 12:04 AM   #3
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That sucks. Not sure how VA services work or what your insurance situation is, but my best advice is to get a second opinion if you can. Lots of other treatment options out there besides chemo that are easier to deal with. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance isnít too far from you and I feel like Iím well taken care of there. Feel free to PM me.
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Old 03-01-2020, 01:28 AM   #4
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Truly sorry to hear that, I hope ever improving treatments will bring good results. It`s fine advice encouraging others to get tested.

A PSA test is available here as part of a general routine bloods check. Drs seek your agreement to the test, not sure why,perhaps because of a risk of false positives and resultant anxiety. I see it as an indicator for further testing, not a diagnosis, and say yes. My GP uses a no patient contribution Medicare funded pathology provider.

A younger friend was alerted by his result and surgery was possible, before a breakout occurred. I hope your experience inspires others to get themselves tested.
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Old 03-01-2020, 05:10 AM   #5
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False positives. It has been about eight years now since I had a biopsy performed on my prostate which came up negative. A biopsy was indicated by a higher than "normal" PSA number. My number contniues to hover around that original test result so, apparently, and according to my urologist, my PSA number is normal for me. However, if it were to go up then time to worry. Still, this is a good reminder to get a physical and some bloodwork. I am 69 years old.
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Truly sorry to hear that, I hope ever improving treatments will bring good results. It`s fine advice encouraging others to get tested.

A PSA test is available here as part of a general routine bloods check. Drs seek your agreement to the test, not sure why,perhaps because of a risk of false positives and resultant anxiety. I see it as an indicator for further testing, not a diagnosis, and say yes. My GP uses a no patient contribution Medicare funded pathology provider.

A younger friend was alerted by his result and surgery was possible, before a breakout occurred. I hope your experience inspires others to get themselves tested.
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Old 03-01-2020, 05:38 AM   #6
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Greetings,
Sorry to hear. Thanks for the PSA about the PSA. Like a lot of things in life it's a bad news/good news thing BUT the good news outweighs the bad IMO.

Bad news you tested positive.

Good news is you now know. Prostate cancer is one of the easier types to cure. In spite of the "side effects" of chemo there is an excellent drug for treating the nausea, mon and it's pretty well no co$t...Just think. A new hobby, gardening!









Sending you good vibes...mon..


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Old 03-01-2020, 08:34 AM   #7
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Sorry to hear about your prostate cancer. I had my prostate removed about 15 years ago during the period when PSA tests were done routinely every year, and I have been cancer free ever since.

But lots and lots of prostates were removed over the years, maybe including mine that would have been fine if left alone. That is why the CDC recommends and I am sure did not do it casually, not to do routine PSA exams anymore. It is a crap shoot for sure: If PSA is high, do the surgery and face quality of life reduction or do nothing and bet that you will be fine. The CDC apparently determined that on balance not doing routine PSAs was better than doing unnecessary treatment. The rub is that you never know if you will be the one like yourself who would have been helped by early detection and treatment.

And FWIW even if detected at the age of 70 which apparently was not for you, CDC recommends no treatment, because you will die from something else than prostate cancer.

But you are you and now have to deal with your condition as it is. Metastatic prostate cancer is serious and tens of thousands die each year from it.

You may feel fine but if it has spread beyond your prostate and nearby organs you are in a serious situation now. I am a little puzzled by the recommendation to start chemotherapy. Usually the treatment for someone in your condition is hormone therapy- reduce testosterone in your system because testosterone is necessary for cancerous cell growth. It works for a lot of people, but unfortunately not for all.

I would recommend joining a prostate cancer support group online. Google it. The one I joined 15 years ago was an email server which I am sure has gone the way of old technology, but others certainly have taken its place. The support group will further explain the issues raised above.

Good luck and hang in there.

David
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Old 03-01-2020, 10:04 AM   #8
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Sorry to hear about your prostate cancer. I also had no symptoms, I had my prostate removed 8 years ago. PSA was 12 therefore I had a biopsy it revealed 30% cancer in the prostrate. With the hope that if we cut it out before the cancer spread to the rest of my body I had the operation. PSA has been zero ever since. I tried but could not find a support group here in Little River. .
Keep thinking positively your mental state is the hardest part.
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Old 03-01-2020, 11:23 AM   #9
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Wow, sorry about your prostate issue.

I get a PSA test yearly since my dad had prostate cancer.

10 years ago my PSA went up quickly. Went to an Urologist who performed a 12 sample biopsy that didn't find anything. I got an infection from the biopsy that took months to heal. The Urologist was sure my prostate was cancerous and wanted to do another 12 snip biopsy after I healed. I told my Doctor no way would I go back to the quack. He sent me to another Urologist who used a pee pee camera to look at the prostate. He found a golf ball sized tumor on the outside of my prostate.

The Urologist removed the tumor through my urethra, had it tested and found it not cancerous. My PSA dropped to normal within 6 months.

Moral of the story, GET A SECOND OPINION!
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Old 03-01-2020, 12:00 PM   #10
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Just one comment. My bride is an oncology nurse and they have made amazing strides forward in dealing with the side effects of the medications. A positive attitude, like you have with an I will beat this crap lean, will work wonders in your success. You got this!

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Old 03-01-2020, 12:09 PM   #11
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I totally understand what Mike is going through. 11.5 years ago my PSA was 10.5. I was scheduled to have a robot take my prostate out. My sister-in-law who is an RN told me about the new procedure called "Proton Therapy." At that time there was only 5 centers in the USA. I went to UAF Jacksonville for the 80 day treatment. Other than a biopsy there is no surgery.

As Mike knows the only way to be 100% sure if you have prostate cancer is to get a biopsy of the prostate.

I have now been cancer free for over 11 years. My PSA went from 10.5 to 0.02.

I wish you well my friend and if you or Tina need anything, you have my number.

https://www.floridaproton.org/
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Old 03-01-2020, 12:52 PM   #12
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I get a PSA every year from Kaiser, and I just turned 84.
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Old 03-01-2020, 01:26 PM   #13
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Thanks all for the good wishes and advice. For me the hardest part in the beginning was to actually say the word Cancer. Once I found I could confront it and say it my attitude changed and I decided to kick its butt rather than let it kick my butt. My new motto is now:

Throttles Forward and don't look back.

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance isn’t too far from you and I feel like I’m well taken care of there. We're fortunate to have the Tri Cities Cancer Center here in town. They're hooked up with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle which I believe it part of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and they're also hooked up with the UW Medical Center. It's reassuring that all the cancer fighters are linked together so you can get the best treatment.

I am a little puzzled by the recommendation to start chemotherapy. Usually the treatment for someone in your condition is hormone therapy- reduce testosterone in your system because testosterone is necessary for cancerous cell growth. It works for a lot of people, but unfortunately not for all. I'm getting that hormone therapy concurrent with the chemo. I got my first shot about 2 weeks ago and will get that every 3 months, likely for the rest of my life. The doc said I might experience some of the things women get when they go through menopause-hot flashes, increased breast size, etc. None of that happened and it's like they gave me a shot of water.

Right now the most difficult thing is waiting for the first chemo treatment on 3/10. I don't know what the after effects will be but I'm not going to let that stop me. I'll probably be tired and nauseaus for a day or two but I can handle that. Six months of chemo means about 7 treatments. If I'm sick for 2-3 days after each treatment, hell, I can do that standing on my head.

So thanks for all the advice, prayers and kind thoughts. I do appreciate all of them. I'm not going to change my lifestyle except for a couple of days after each chemo treatment.

Oh, and Mr. RTF, we have two legal pot stores right within a few miles of us that have a LOT of CBD products to choose from. We've already made one trip there and just might have to do another drive by soon.

Mike
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Old 03-01-2020, 03:58 PM   #14
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Greetings,
Mr. GFC. Ummm...You're doing it wrong.


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Old 03-01-2020, 06:19 PM   #15
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It is said here that many men die with prostate cancer but not of prostate cancer.
However, it is gets out and away, the battle begins, just as it has here.
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Old 03-01-2020, 07:49 PM   #16
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It is estimated and revealed through autospies that approximately 1/3rd of males that die had prostate cancer and they and their doctor did not know it. They died of something else. Some prostate cancers can drag on and on and on.

I just went through a lymphoma scare and learned that there is, to use a slang, old farts lymphoma that is very slow and the person usually dies from something else.
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Old 03-01-2020, 08:42 PM   #17
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I know you aren't looking for sympathy GFC, but how about some empathy.

I have it done every year. This past annual physical my doctor told me she had forgotten to add it to the blood work. I told her to write a draw just for that and I went back again. It was fine. Every year I get the full work up blood report which lists the acceptable ranges and what is out of range if anything. I am anal about scanning it and asking questions.

Good luck with the treatment. If you feel up to it share your experiences as you go along - you may save others on here from going through this - or even a life.

We are with you.
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Old 03-01-2020, 09:56 PM   #18
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We are with you.
Thanks for the kind words. I truly appreciate it.

I have given some thought to posting about my experience with the chemo. I haven't decided yet. If it gets one of you old farts in for a PSA test I suppose it would be worth it.
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Old 03-01-2020, 10:18 PM   #19
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Wifey B: I think you've done a huge public service to the members here in a way only one going through what you are could do. The thing that angers me is they didn't let you make the choice on the test. I know the reasons they choose not to, but it should be an individual's decision, not doctor's playing God. They do this on many tests. No PSA because you're old and makes no sense to do the surgery, but yet we all know many much older who have lived another 15 years post surgery. Too many false positives, then do additional screening or at least check the rest of the body. It's patients rights. They do the same thing on women with mammograms and pap smears and change the rules. They do it on both sexes with colonoscopies. Doctors should inform and ask what we want to do. It's like treatment options, it's our lives to decide. I know you'll fight for the best possible outcome you can have and will have family and friends beside you and wish you the best. You said no sympathy and I don't meet the physical requirements for empathy, but I share you concerns on testing.
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Old 03-02-2020, 12:38 AM   #20
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Good luck moving forward on this GFC. Based upon your previous advice I see my urologist March 2nd. PSA numbers are fine but as with most old men my prostate is enlarged and needs a look see every now and then.

Thanks for posting. All us guys need a reminder and your openness is laudable.
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