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Cancer: Prostate Message Board

  • PSA Anxiety

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    Old 03-07-2021, 07:26 AM   #1
    Sw1218
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    PSA Anxiety

    hello, everyone. i'm not sure if this topic has already been covered. my question is how do you handle PSA anxiety, especially when it's your first couple of times having a PSA blood draw after being treated?

    when my PSA came back 4.04 after it being a 12.68 in october 2019, i thought that was great progress. but my nurse and RO felt the PSA should've been lower, since it's been a year. so, they ask'd me to come back in six weeks. on the 16th i go back to have my next PSA and i'm trying not to stress about it.

    how do you PSA anxiety?
    __________________

    D.O.B. | 12/18/1973
    02.28.2019 | Dx 45
    Elev. PSA | 11.9
    GS | 4+3 = 7
    Treatment | HDR Brachytherapy & 6 mths of Casodex 50mg

     
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    Old 03-07-2021, 08:12 AM   #2
    SubDenis
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    Re: PSA Anxiety

    As we have discussed there is only one thing you can do and that is wait for the next psa test. Anxiety will not make the next one better or worse. It will be what it will be. Focus on today and stay busy.

     
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    Old 03-07-2021, 08:42 AM   #3
    IADT3since2000
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    Re: PSA Anxiety

    Hi Sw1218,

    Following through with monitoring is the key thing you can do, and you and your medical team is doing that. Another important thing is to observe the facts, face them, and make sound decisions. Your presence here indicates you are doing that. For me, knowing that I have done and am doing all that I can do in the face of a potential threat is reassuring and somewhat calming, though not totally. You may also be able to decrease anxiety by focusing on that. Also, some anxiety is not a bad thing as it is motivating. In that regard, it is like pain – not nice, but signaling there is a problem and motivating.

    It may also help to realize that the “worst case” – a recurrence of the cancer – is extremely unlikely to be the end of the world for you, or even close to the end of your world. A significant recurrence would be another and unwanted, inconvenient and burdensome problem to deal with, but you have dealt with that kind of problem before, and the odds are high that further treatment will knock any recurring cancer way back if not cure it.

    In addition, each passing year, in fact more like every passing month there is progress in prostate cancer technology, and unlike a couple of decades ago, it’s not just gradual, incremental progress, it’s substantial! Progress is not just in treatment directly, but also in supportive technologies like imaging and testing, such as genetic testing; the medical community involved with prostate cancer is constantly homing in on personalized medicine where treatment is customized to the individual patient. Years ago it was more “one size fits all.” That is no longer so. You are almost certain to have many of those additional passing years, during which technology will improve substantially. According to figures from the American Cancer Society and what you have posted about your situation, you are virtually guaranteed (more than 99% likely) to survive prostate cancer to the fifteen your point from your date of diagnosis. If medical advances for prostate cancer in those fifteen years are even close to the level of advances during the past fifteen years, prospects for patients in surviving prostate cancer with the cancer under excellent control or cured, with good quality of life, and with low threats and burdens from side effects are almost a sure bet.

    I hope that reflecting on these realities will decrease your anxiety.

    Good luck!

    ….Jim

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    21 years as a survivor. Doing well. Diagnosis Dec 1999 PSA 113.6 (first ever), age 56
    Gleason 4+3=7 (J. Epstein, JHU), all cores +, most 100%; "rock hard" prostate with ECE - stage 3, PNI, PSADT determined later 3-4 months; technetium bone scan and CT scan negative; prognosis 5 years.
    Later ProstaScint scan negative except for one suspicious small area in an unlikely location. ADT Lupron as first therapy, in Dec 1999, then + Casodex in March 2000, then + Proscar and Fosamax in Sep 2000. Rejected for surgery January 2000; offered radiation but told success odds were low; switched to ADT only vice radiation in May 2000, betting on holding the fort for improved technology; PSA gradual decline to <0.01 May 2002. Commenced intermittent ADT3 (IADT3) with first vacation from Lupron & Casodex. Negative advanced scans in 2011 (NaF18 PET/CT for bone) and 2012 (Feraheme USPIO for nodes and soft tissue). With improved technology, tried TomoTherapy RT, 39 sessions, in early 2013, plus ADT 3 in support for 18 months (fourth round of IADT3), ended April 2014. Continuing with Avodart as anti-recurrence shield. Current PSA remarkably low and stable at <0.01; apparently cured (Current PSA as of 12/2/2020). (Current T 93 12/2/2020.) Supportive diet/nutrition, exercise, supportive medications during this journey, as well as switches in antiandrogen, 5-ARI, and bone drugs. Barely noticeable side effects from radiation; continuing low T, likely do to long use of ADT, but good energy and adequate strength. I have a lot of School of Hard Knocks knowledge, and have followed research, which has made me an empowered and savvy patient, but I have had no enrolled medical education. What I experienced is not a guarantee for all but shows what is possible.

     
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    Old 03-07-2021, 10:08 AM   #4
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    Re: PSA Anxiety

    It's something we all experience. It is unavoidable. It's automatic.

    The technique for disappearing anything unwanted is to accept it. It begins with acccepting the cancer. Very much like AA. Hi, my name is Prostatefree, and I have cancer. Hiding, avoiding, denying, delaying and suppressing all hold it in place.

    Be present to all you are doing to deal with it. Acknowledge the actions you have taken. Forgive yourself for whatever you may be harboring as your fault or the fault of others. Recognize the warning signs; obsessive thinking; anger or annoyance; depression; blame.

    Give yourself credit. Acknowledge your awareness of the anxiety; the impact on your life in the moment; your actions to deal with it. Give yourself time to be with it, i.e; Oh, that's PSA anxiety; I have cancer; then give yourself a specific time to be with it and consider it (1 full minute or less, it gets faster); then thank your brain for sharing the anxiety, but no thanks; move on to whatever is the next moment in your life.

    It's a yellow warning flag on the beach of life. It's not going away. It's you doing your job. Remind yourself you have it covered. Then live what's left of the rest of your life. Like you would anyway.
    __________________
    Born 1953; family w/PCa-grandfather, 3 brothers;
    7-12-04 PSA 1.9; 7-10-06 PSA 2.0; 8-30-07 PSA 3.2; 12-1-11 PSA 5.7; 5-16-12 PSA 4.76; 12-11-12 PSA 5.2; 3-7-16 PSA 7.2;
    3-14-16 TRUS biopsy, PCa 1%-60% across 8 of 12 samples, G3+3;
    5-4-16 DaVinci RP, Path-65g, lymph nodes, seminal vesicles, capsule, margin all neg, G3+4, T vol 35%, +pT2c, No Incontinence-6mos, Erections-14 months;
    1-15-21 PSA less than 0.02; zero club 4.5 yrs

     
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    Old 03-12-2021, 03:28 AM   #5
    HighlanderCFH
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    Re: PSA Anxiety

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sw1218 View Post
    hello, everyone. i'm not sure if this topic has already been covered. my question is how do you handle PSA anxiety, especially when it's your first couple of times having a PSA blood draw after being treated?

    when my PSA came back 4.04 after it being a 12.68 in october 2019, i thought that was great progress. but my nurse and RO felt the PSA should've been lower, since it's been a year. so, they ask'd me to come back in six weeks. on the 16th i go back to have my next PSA and i'm trying not to stress about it.

    how do you PSA anxiety?

    I cannot believe that November will be the TEN YEAR mark of my 2011 da Vinci prostatectomy surgery. The first 9 years have yielded a 0 PSA reading. Even though I "knew" each upcoming blood test was going to be zero, there is still a bit of worry.

    It's just part of being human. So try to keep it out of your mind as much as possible and, before long, it'll be time for the next test.

    Good luck! We're all here for ya.
    Chuck

     
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    Old 03-15-2021, 04:20 PM   #6
    CuriousCharles
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    Re: PSA Anxiety

    Over the past 7+ years I've had a PSA roller coaster ride from an originally very metastatic 5,006 to 1.0 to 95.0 to 1.2 to 41.4 to 7.5 to 27.1. It's been good for me to remember that my treatments are treating my prostate cancer, and not treating the PSA number, itself. The PSA is only one marker, and often the actual radiographic progression seen on imaging is a more important indication of one's disease status than just specific PSA numbers. I've also found that for me it made not a bit of difference in any treatment decision if I rounded-off any PSA reading to the nearest whole number, at least. (Sometimes, that could stretch to the nearest 5-10 units, in certain situations where I was still considerably below the starting PSA value at which I had started the previous treatment.) It's a balancing act, that's for sure. Often it's more trends than actual values.

     
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