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Old 02-02-2008, 05:26 AM   #1
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my husband has prostate cancer..

I came home last Thursday and my husband told me that he had prostate cancer. I knew that he was having problems and having tests done on his prostate, but I never dreamed in a million years he would have cancer because cancer doesn't run in his family. Needless to say I was shocked.

He has an appointment to see a doctor next Thursday for consultation about what how to treat this cancer. Im going with him and I am going to try to be as supportive as I can, but Im really scared. I had a brother that avoided his symptoms and he died from prostate cancer.

The good news is the doctor told him they caught it early, but I feel so bad for him because he's all ready had heart surgeries, hernia surgeries, gallbladder surgery, anuyrism surgery and other surgeries and I am so scared of this thing and of losing him. I will be strong though and help him thru this as best that I can.

It appears there are different ways to treat this surgery, but it seems to me if I had a tumor in my body I would want it out period. Ultimately it will be his decision. Im going to pray hard for him and I know God will save him and not let him die. God bless all of you that are facing this same nightmare and I pray all of you will come thru just fine.

Any suggestions that you might be able to give me would be appreciated so I can tell my husband. I wish he would come here and talk himself, but he doesn't go to any message boards. Thank you very much ...Barbara

 
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Old 02-02-2008, 06:59 AM   #2
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Re: my husband has prostate cancer..

the good news is that there are any number of ways to treat this and you'll hear about 'em all in the coming weeks. you'll at first be overwhelmed by all the info, but eventually you'll talk to a doctor that you both will have confidence in. my experience was that the most imiportant thing was to keep looking around, learning more and getting more second opinions and consultations until i was completely comfortable with the path we were taking. you're no doubt reading web pages and books right now. soon you'll see lots of advice here, but i hope you're wary about the amateur advice you get -- all well meaning, of course, but the only people in your situation are you and your husband [and the doctors you talk to face to face.] good luck and keep posting here. everyone here has taken just one path down this road exactly once. the rest is hearsay.

 
Old 02-02-2008, 07:01 AM   #3
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Re: my husband has prostate cancer..

Sorry to hear about your husband's diagnosis. As you say, the good news is that they caught it early, so successful treatment is possible, if not likely.

If you simply peruse the threads on this board you will find a tremendous amount of information on treatments, websites, and books that are available to help make your decision. Hopefully, it won't be too confusing.

In order for us to understand your husband's situation and offer opinions on treatment, could you give us details such as his age, PSA, his biopsy results, Gleason score, etc?

Good luck!

 
Old 02-02-2008, 07:03 AM   #4
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Re: my husband has prostate cancer..

Quote:
Originally Posted by wv_lady_us View Post
Any suggestions that you might be able to give me would be appreciated so I can tell my husband. I wish he would come here and talk himself, but he doesn't go to any message boards. Thank you very much ...Barbara
Hello Barbara;

You've come to the right place for support. In spite of the fact that we are not medical professionals, we were all told, "You've got prostate cancer." We all had to make some hard decisions and jump through some difficult hoops. If your husband isn't a message board geek, then you need to do that job for him. I'm certainly happy that his cancer was caught early and that he has some time to consider the many treatments. Each treatment is good. There are no bad treatments as long as the specific treatment is matched to his age, his staging numbers, his temperament and his attitude. My suggestion at this point is to learn as much as you can about his staging numbers. Initially this would include his biopsy results, his last several PSA results, if he had a bone scan or a CT scan to indicate that it's still localized, stuff like that. His urologist can suggest some reading material about his condition and about treatments. Initially, I can suggest that you go to your local book store and buy Dr. Peter Scardino's Prostate Book: The Complete Guide to Overcoming Prostate Cancer, Prostatitis and BPH (Hardcover). This will get you started on your journey to beat this thing. Never hesitate to ask questions here on this anonymous forum. The only dumb questions are the questions that you didn't ask. There's plenty of "experience" to be shared here. Many stories! Many tips and tricks to coping with your journey. We are ready to help you.
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Last edited by able5; 02-02-2008 at 07:09 AM.

 
Old 02-02-2008, 07:17 AM   #5
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Re: my husband has prostate cancer..

Quote:
Originally Posted by wv_lady_us View Post
b

Any suggestions that you might be able to give me would be appreciated so I can tell my husband. I wish he would come here and talk himself, but he doesn't go to any message boards. Thank you very much ...Barbara
It would be good to get the age and staging info as already suggested, as that will have a lot of bearing re: advice from all of us that have gone through it.
While we're obviously not professionals, we do have experience and have read a lot and spoken to many prior to getting our own treatment (which as you'll read varies quite a bit).

Doctors are helpful, but for prostate cancer there are many available treatments, each with particular advantages and disadvantages. Depending on what your doctor(s) specialize in, that's how you're likely to be directed. Fortunately, you can challenge what they say and come to your own personal conclusions. I'd add the recent book by Patrick Walsh (Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer) and another on an alternative form of treatment, proton beam therapy (which is what I did last year)- Robert Marckini's book entitled You Can Beat Prostate Cancer. Readers' comments on the various books on Amazon's website can provide some input too.

Good luck as you begin the process. Try to keep an open mind on the various treatments. I too started out by thinking surgery, to get it out, was
the way to go. But I changed my mind and am happy with my decision...

 
Old 02-02-2008, 09:44 AM   #6
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Re: my husband has prostate cancer..

Quote:
Originally Posted by daff View Post
While we're obviously not professionals, we do have experience and have read a lot and spoken to many prior to getting our own treatment (which as you'll read varies quite a bit).
I appreciate you repeating that point daff. It's sort of a pet peeve of mine to KEEP IT REAL!

Thanks again, Buddy!
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Old 02-02-2008, 09:48 AM   #7
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Re: my husband has prostate cancer..

Quote:
Originally Posted by daff View Post
I'd add the recent book by Patrick Walsh (Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer) and another on an alternative form of treatment, proton beam therapy (which is what I did last year)- Robert Marckini's book entitled You Can Beat Prostate Cancer. Readers' comments on the various books on Amazon's website can provide some input too.
Barbara,

daff is our "pioneer" with regard to proton beam therapy. He's captured my attention with his posts about this relatively new therapy. Proton Beam Therapy is certainly something to consider in your quest for a treatment.

Keep posting!
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Old 02-04-2008, 07:56 AM   #8
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Re: my husband has prostate cancer..

All the advice you've received on these boards so far is good and correct. I'd add that the single most important decision you'll make after what treatment you choose will be the specialist you select to perform it and the institution where it is performed. There are wide differences in skill and experience levels among the many surgeons and radiation/oncologists specialising in prostate cancer treatment and consequently wide differences in quality of outputs and side effects of treatment. The best results are usually obtained by the best surgeonsand radiologist/oncologists at the best cancer centers who treat the greatest number of prostate cancer cases. Avoid the local practitioners in the local hospitals as they can't afford to sub-specialise in only a single procedure and are forced to treat all urological conditions in general practices. Therefore their experience in treating prostate cancer is more limited than the top specialists who devote their entire practice to only treating P.C.
Good Luck

 
Old 02-04-2008, 11:13 AM   #9
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Re: my husband has prostate cancer..

Thank you so much for all the input and information that you all have given me. To be honest I do not have his biopsy information at the present time. All I know is that he is in the early stages of prostate cancer, but when we go this Thursday to talk with his doctor I will know more. Oh my hubby is 59 years old. I will read the boards and have all ready looked online and will try and find that book you mentioned. I will post at a later time when I know more about my husbands condition. Oh he told me that his prostate was enlarging rapidly, but I don't know what the means exactly. Will keep you updated and thanks again...Barbara

 
Old 02-04-2008, 11:33 AM   #10
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Re: my husband has prostate cancer..

Hi Barbara,

I've already read your original post and now seven responses. You've had a lot of key advice, so I won't cover that ground again, but I would like to give you some additional thoughts.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wv_lady_us View Post
I came home last Thursday and my husband told me that he had prostate cancer. ... Needless to say I was shocked.

Does your statement ever bring back memories! At age 56 I was returning from an allergy shot after having gotten a routine physical a few days before where the doctor pronounced me fine and told me he didn't think I needed a PSA test. I insisted. My PSA was 113.6, and the report had a scrawled note at the bottom. Get appointment ASAP! Yes, stunned and shocked, as was my wife when I opened the garage door and told her I had some bad news.

He has an appointment to see a doctor next Thursday for consultation about what how to treat this cancer. Im going with him and I am going to try to be as supportive as I can, but Im really scared. I had a brother that avoided his symptoms and he died from prostate cancer.

You said the critical words: "avoided his symptoms." That's a formula for dying from prostate cancer in many cases as there are often no symptoms until the cancer is well advanced. If your husband's cancer was truly caught early, his chances for survival are excellent, and you may be surprised at the quality of life you and your husband will enjoy. For the first weeks after diagnosis, my wife and I wondered if we would ever have a joyful day again. Even though my case was clearly challenging, we found joyful days much sooner than we had anticipated.

The good news is the doctor told him they caught it early, but I feel so bad for him because he's all ready had heart surgeries, hernia surgeries, gallbladder surgery, anuyrism surgery and other surgeries and I am so scared of this thing and of losing him. ...

You bring up a critical point that has not yet been addressed in responses, though I hope that will change. When there are such significant other health conditions, prostate cancer may be the least of your husband's worries, and that overall health context should have a huge bearing on the approach to the cancer. Heart and aneurism trouble are major concerns, usually more so than prostate cancer. That's especially true in men around 70 and older. How old is your husband? For example, I read again and again that doctors recommend against surgery for men at or near 70 who are not in good health. Prostate cancer surgery and its aftermath are a significant strain on the system, and blood clots are common. While clots do no harm at all for most patients because they are usually small, they are often apparently a real danger for older men with heart and cardiovascular trouble. As daff and able5 have pointed out, we are not doctors, so please bear that in mind too. But some of these points are very well established principles that you will discover yourself if you read.

If the cancer is fairly mild, your husband may not need to do anything, though learning about tactics involving nutrition, exercise (to the extent he can do it) and stress reduction could help. So might low key medications like statin drugs (perhaps he's already on one), finasteride or Avodart. All of those are prescription drugs, and you and your husband would need to learn about them and discuss them with a good doctor. If the cancer was caught early but is more of a concern, hormonal blockade by drugs might be all that is needed, though there are some issues when a man has heart and other cariovascular conditions. Beyond surgery, radiation and cryosurgery (freezing) are often fairly low-intrusive options that older men, or men with other significant health conditions, may tolerate better. Bottom line: there are options.


It appears there are different ways to treat this surgery, but it seems to me if I had a tumor in my body I would want it out period. Ultimately it will be his decision.

I think most of us want to just get it out, especially at the beginning. However, we need to aim before we shoot, or we are liable to miss. Keep this in mind: since prostate cancer is a slow growing disease for the vast majority of us, your husband has probably had it for years. In fact, for men over 50, prostate cancer is NORMAL. In other words, more men have it than do not, though most do not know it - I'm obviously not saying it's a good thing. While about one out of six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes, only about one in thirty or so will die of it. If your husband's case is truly mild (such as stage T2a, Gleason Scoreof 6 or lower with no grade 4 or 5 cancer (two grades are combined to make the score), PSA of 10 or lower, no increase of PSA in the year before diagnosis of more than 2, only one core positive or only up to about 3 if many cores were taken, no high percentage of a core positive), then "active surveillance" could be an ideal approach for him. Right now, it is too early to say. Make sure your husband's doctor gives you all this information that he has.

Im going to pray hard for him...

I believe in that too!

Barbara
Take care and good luck to you both.

Jim

 
Old 02-04-2008, 11:42 AM   #11
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Re: my husband has prostate cancer..

Quote:
Originally Posted by wv_lady_us View Post
Thank you so much for all the input and information that you all have given me. To be honest I do not have his biopsy information at the present time. All I know is that he is in the early stages of prostate cancer, but when we go this Thursday to talk with his doctor I will know more. Oh my hubby is 59 years old. I will read the boards and have all ready looked online and will try and find that book you mentioned. I will post at a later time when I know more about my husbands condition. Oh he told me that his prostate was enlarging rapidly, but I don't know what the means exactly. Will keep you updated and thanks again...Barbara
There are many of us here that will be glad to try to be helpful. It might be easier to keep track of what's discussed on Thursday if you take a notebook- and come prepared with some of your own questions, since you might not remember exactly what to ask. I always had a list of questions, so I could make sure we'd cover enough things.

It will be important to learn his Gleason score and PSA. These will help in reviewing treatment options, which you know from this board, are not just confined to surgery or seeds. Also, the size of his prostate can be important too. Even if you don't know how these things will matter right now, it will be good for you to get this information so when you later read about, or have people tell you about,
the various alternative treatments, you can factor all this information in.

Feel free to post again after Thursday's meeting. We'll try to help put things in perspective if you so desire.

 
Old 02-04-2008, 01:14 PM   #12
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Re: my husband has prostate cancer..

Quote:
Originally Posted by wv_lady_us View Post
...Oh my hubby is 59 years old.... Barbara
Hi again Barbara,

You and I were posting about the same time, and I didn't see this update. Your husband's younger age might open the door to surgery, but the potential cardio complications should be examined very carefully. I think it would make sense to consult with the cardio/internal medicine doctors in thinking about a therapy for prostate cancer. Also, in rereading my earlier post, I did not mean that hormonal blockade was ruled out by your husband's conditions, but it, like surgery, would definitely need some extra examination.

If the books you already have and are getting do not have good forms for recording information, an excellent book with a fine set of forms is "A Primer on Prostate Cancer -- The Empowered Patient's Guide," Strum and Pogliano, rev. ed. 2005. It also has great color illustrations and photos. One of its strengths is providing an overview of information to orient new patients.

Sometimes prostate cancer is a sign that the body is under stress and vulnerable to other diseases. Your husband's other conditions emphasize that possibility, because research indicates that some of the causes for all these conditions are similar. Some of us are trying to tip the balance back in our favor by using lifestyle tactics to support our chosen therapies (not as a substitute). This involves nutrition, certain supplements, diet, exercise, and stress reduction where possible. There is a lot of formal, medical research supporting these tactics, but unfortunately none of it is absolutely convincing as yet. You and your husband could try to find out if his prostate cancer doctor is knowledgeable about these approaches. Many doctors are not knowledgeable, but you might be fortunate. My first doctor was totally uninterested, but a urologist I consulted later was very helpful.

Jim

 
Old 02-06-2008, 05:47 AM   #13
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Smile Re: my husband has prostate cancer..

Thank you for all the great input that you gave me. Well my husband did give me a score, but I forgot. Perhaps it was in the 30s maybe? Im sorry to not be able to give exact numbers. My hubby told me he had been having prostate problems for years, but his doctor noticed something in his blood work in December and recommended he go for tests and they took 12 biopsy's I believe and one showed the cancer. My husband talked with a cousin who had prostate cancer several years ago and he told my husband what a rough surgery that it was and he got infections and it took months and months for him to fully recover. With all my husbands other health problems I just wonder if he could survive such a surgery. Rog went online and was reading about "Robotic" surgery and they have this surgery at one Hospital in Huntington, WV and my husband said its sounds better than the traditional type surgeries since you lose less blood and there are less complications after the surgery and less time in the hospital. I hope if he does have to have surgery that he could have this type if our insurance company will pay. Thats the clincher. I will take a notebook and take notes and ask questions tomorrow. Im really hoping he doesn't have to have surgery, but we will see. You all are the best and I appreciate every one of you that has tried to help me understand this type cancer. I have no books on prostate cancer yet, but will try to find these that are mentioned. All I know is its going to be a long long struggle with this cancer and Im so stressed Im getting physical symptoms in my stomach. My daughter is getting married in July and I have financial obligations to help with the wedding reception and that has stressed me out also. Well thanks for listening and I will keep you updated and will write down what the doctor says and have a better idea of what my husband is facing with this cancer...many thanks...Barbara

 
Old 02-06-2008, 06:18 AM   #14
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Re: my husband has prostate cancer..

Barbara;
If your experience was like mine, you'll wonder why you got so stressed. Your post reminds me of another wife on this forum that went from "PANIC" to "PhD" in a matter of months. When her hubby was diagnosed she got on this forum and went into the "panic mode" and dumped her entire load of emotions on us. As time went on she got more and more confidence and courage as we helped her through her journey step-by-step. Her hubby went on to have a very successful surgery and he recovered just fine. They chose a very prominent prostate cancer center and got the best care from some of the best doctors and urology team in the country. All this happened in less than a year. Just a short while ago she got stopped posting. For some reason she got upset with all of us who helped her along the way and decided she had enough of "prostates" and wanted to move on and live her life without this forum. That was sad. She had a lot to offer. She had a great success story and would have added value to this forum and help for the newbies just beginning their PC journey. She no longer participates because she doesn't need us any longer. Personally, I miss her valuable input. I wish that she would come back and rejoin our team of PC veterans. Maybe that will happen some day. I hope, a year from now, that you have a similar success story to share about your prostate cancer experience and you will stay with us to help the newbies that come after you and give them the courage they will need to face this terrible disease. The members here on this forum care passionately about your situation. We want to try to help you relax and get comfortable (as best you can) with the road you are about to travel. We've all been down that same road, in one way or another, so we do have valuable input. Our experiences may not be exactly what you experience, but they will be very similar.

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Last edited by able5; 02-06-2008 at 06:27 AM.

 
Old 02-06-2008, 07:04 AM   #15
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Re: my husband has prostate cancer..

Quote:
Originally Posted by wv_lady_us View Post
.....All I know is its going to be a long long struggle with this cancer....
Barbara-

I'll second what Able had to say. This is far far from a hopeless struggle. And your husband doesn't HAVE to have surgery, robotic or otherwise. Repeating what I and others have said before, there are options- and many many of them are good. In some people's opinion (mine) better than surgery. Your urologist will likely point towards surgery, giving a few less than wholehearted options (unless he's different from a large number of urologists).

Surgery is not necessarily the best choice, although it certainly is the choice many make. I think once you've read more about this, your stress level will decrease. I had proton beam radiation, with little to no discomfort, no incontinence, no pain. It did require me to be away from home for two months, since the short out-patient treatments took place 5 days a week for about 8 weeks. Insurance did pay for this, although I was responsible for paying my living expenses in Jacksonville.

Besides protons, there are other very targeted forms of radiation that have gained more use over the years. It's important to make sure that the facility you go to has the latest generation of equipment for whatever it is that you do. This isn't a time when convenience should be the highest thing on the list.

(One of your questions on the subject of robotic surgery should be how many procedures of this kind has your recommended doctor done. I'd say a minimum of 300 is ok, but if I were doing it, I'd want a top surgeon who has
done over 1,000.)

My guess is that once you learn more and take charge of what's happening in as active a way as you can, you'll see that you can beat this. Hope the meeting goes well. We'll be thinking of you. Keep on writing too.

 
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