This new thread stems from the thread started by nharper, entitled "father diagnosed ... need honest responses". I hope this information will help her and her dad, but I realized a lot more of us could benefit by getting an impression of what the two books are like. These books have been a great help to me.
The first book: "Beating Prostate Cancer: Hormonal Therapy & Diet", by Dr. Charles "Snuffy" Myers
The second book: "A Primer on Prostate Cancer - The Empowered Patient's Guide".
Let's start with nharper's post so you can see the context.
Originally Posted by nharper
My father has recently been diagnosed with stage d2, gleason 9, psa 32. It has spread to his spine and liver. He is tolerating treatment (hormonal and taxotere) well, but I really need to know what kind of time frame we are looking at, in terms of how much longer he will be with us. I don't think he would tell me, even if he did know. please, someone give me an idea
Hi again nharper,
I've got some more time and thought you might like to read a few brief passages from the books I mentioned.
First from Dr. Myers book, "Beating Prostate Cancer: Hormonal Therapy & Diet":
I have the original edition, and the page numbers may have changed since. I've also spliced in a few smilies - couldn't help it.
Brief excerpts on optimism from Chapter 1:
"... I've seen many men beat odds that seem insurmountable, utilizing a combination of treatments of which hormonal therapy was an integral part, men who are still cancer-free today." p. 12
Dr. Myers himself has cancer; in fact, he was diagnosed the same year I was, but much earlier in the year. "When I was first diagnosed I had a very aggressive case of cancer that involved metastatic spread to my lymph nodes. I discussed my case with quite a few of my colleagues. In general, the assessment was that I would be ill with advanced disease by five years and would likely die within ten...." p. 14 Well, he is alive, vigorous and doing well now at the ten year point.
My own (Jim here) prognosis in December 1999 was five years: two good years and three declining years.
Obviously I've beat that, and I just returned from the gym where I leg pressed 12 reps at 290 pounds, 12 rotary calf reps at 325 pounds (more than double my weight), did ten other weight bearing exercises, and then racewalked for thirty minutes on the treadmill, with a top speed for ten minutes at 13 minutes 2 seconds per mile. (That's a fairly fast pace even for young folks, and I'm 65 now). (I can go faster and longer, and I can do more weight bearing machines, but I don't sleep as well if I do. Wonder how much I could do if I weren't on hormonal blockade for prostate cancer with an extremely low level of testosterone!
"Too often pessimism and ultimately, depression can affect the way men view their disease, their treatment , and the success of their chosen program. In fact, over the years I've found myself asking if pessimism is as deadly a disease as prostate cancer itself...." page 15
"... I deal with life and death issues everyday and time and again I have seen people give up and die long before they should have. In contrast, I have patients whose disease is so aggressive that their other doctors urge them to put their affairs in order and yet they refuse to give up. These kind of relentless optimists continually seek out new and better treatments and beat all odds." p. 16
(I think you can guess which group I - Jim - am in.)
He finishes this chapter on optimism with a brief discussion (details later) of depression, sunlight and vitamin D.
From the chapter on inspiring results case studies:
"In September 2003, XD made an appointment with his urologist when he began to have symptoms of urinary tract obstruction ... checked his PSA, which proved to be 1,026 ng/ml. Transrectal ultrasound and biopsy of the prostate gland revealed a Gleason 4+4=8.... A CT scan showed clear involvement of the lymph nodes along the iliac arteries on both sides of his pelvis, and in the nodes along the back of his abdomen. A bone scan showed a hot spot in his left scapula.... [details of his treatment] He remained on Leukine. Over the next several months, his PSA dropped to 0.04 ng/ml and has remained there... At this point we obtained a bone scan and CT scan that found no evidence of prostate cancer. Thus, after a long and complex treatment course, this patient is now in complete remission.
Our next challenge will be to keep him in complete remission. We both hope Leukine and Avodart will do the job." parts of pp. 110-112
At age 53, AP was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Prior to diagnosis, his only PSA test was a 1.19 ng/ml from 1995. In September, he had a PSA drawn as part of a set of routine blood tests. The result? 3,488 ng/ml. His doctor repeated the PSA seven days later and got a result of 3,905 ng/ml. The doctor then biopsied AP's prostate gland and discovered that AP had a Gleason 4+4=8 cancer. A CT scan revealed severe lymph node involvement in his left pelvis. Cancer had also spread to the lymph nodes at the back of his abdomen. Luckily, though, bone scan showed no evidence of prostate cancer.... [various treatments are described, leading up to this comment on one of his later treatments] But AP responded very well to treatment and his PSA fell to below 0.01 ng/ml within ten weeks of starting treatment.
By the end of six months of treatment, no cancer could be detected by CT scan and I declared him in complete remission...."
[then describes current treatment and backup plans] parts of pages 112-114
From Chapter 10 - "Diet & Lifestyle":
"... I think it is difficult to obtain durable complete remissions in metastatic prostate cancer with any frequency if you ignore diet and supplements...." p. 123
On coping with risks from the side effects of hormonal therapy: "But the truth is that you may be able to dramatically reduce or eliminate this cardiovascular risk. In fact, the same lifestyle and dietary changes that are good for your general health will also act to limit the damage hormonal therapy can cause." p. 125
On exercise, especially to cope with the tendency of losing muscle if you are on hormonal therapy: " Men on hormonal therapy tend to lose muscle strength and muscle mass. While this obviously limits what you can do physically, it very likely contributes to the weight gain and exacerbates the insulin resistance. If you adopt a program of aerobic exercise and resistance exercise, you can limit your loss of muscle strength and muscle mass and your recovery from hormonal therapy, once it has stopped, will also be more rapid." p. 133
My comment (Jim) - In fact, you can actually increase strength and muscle mass while on hormonal blockade even when it reduces testosterone to less than 20, an extremely low score, considered castrate level by the docs I follow, and well below the value of 50 used by many other docs as the level for medical castration. I heard that from Dr. Myers and Dr. Scholz, tried it, and I'm succeeding for the second time. (I did not exercise like that during my first 31 months of hormonal blockade and I did lose some strength and muscle mass, especially in my upper body. The contrast between the first cycle and the second and third cycles of intermittent hormonal therapy have made me a convinced believer!) It takes work, it's not easy, but it can be done!
From his section on vitamins and supplements:
"I'm starting this discussion with, and devoting most of the segment to, vitamin D because I think it is by and large the most important supplement for prostate cancer treatment...." p. 149
From "A Primer on Prostate Cancer - The Empowered Patient's Guide," by Dr. Stephen B. Strum, MD and Donna Pogliano
Preventing bone resorption or correcting excessive bone resorption has become an important part of PC management. The mainstay of such therapy involves the use of the class of compounds called bisphosphonates (Table 12). These represent a major advance in the treatment of prostate cancer...." p. 142
On DEXA vs. QCT Bone Mineral Density (BMD) scans:
"The most common technique used to evaluate bone mineral density is the DEXA scan. However, the DEXA scan is falsely 'improved' by arthritis and calcium deposits in blood vessels close to the bones being studied. In a report studying both DEXA bone density and quantitative CT (QCT) bone mineral density in the same population of men with PC who had not been treated with ADT [meaning hormonal therapy], Smith et al [reference to first author of the source study] found osteopenia in 32% and osteoporosis in 63% using QCT technology. Only 5% of patients who were studied with QCT had normal bone density. With DEXA, in contrast, osteopenia was detected in 12/41 (29%) and osteoporosis in 2/41 (5%) of men in the same study population." p. B22 Jim's comment: it appears that QCT scanning is quite superior. However, I've had only DEXA scans, and they have seemed to do the job for me. I have no arthritis.
I hope this gives you an idea why these books are so important for us patients with challenging cases. To me they are like gold! I cannot recommend them highly enough!