Health Alert: Prostate Cancer.

Health Alert: Prostate Cancer.

PostBy: LsFarm On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:56 am

OK, I'm going to get up on my soap box for this thread, but it's important..

I have been getting an annual physical for about the last 30 years.. at first it was part of my employment, but once that job ended, I decided to continue the checkups. My current employer will pay all the costs of an annual physical, since it's considered 'preventive care'.

So part of my annual physical is a blood workup, and for about 20 years, it has included a check on the PSA level
PSA is Prostate Serum Antigen.. it basicly is the amount of this very specific antigen that the prostate gland secretes. IF the the prostate is normal, healthy it will be around 1-2.5 if you are in your forties. These numbers do vary from person to person. and with your age.
If your PSA level increases more than .5 in a year, this is considered grounds for further inspection and testing.

One of the 'checks' for prostate issued is the DRE, or 'finger sweep' to feel for lumps or bumps in the prostate.

So, I've been tracking my PSA for several decades. About 10 years ago, it abruptly went from my normal 1.5-2.0 reading to 3.5 in one year..
BIG RED FLAG !! So I went to a Urologist, got an ultrasound and a biopsy, All negative, Diagnosis: prostatitis, and irritated prostate.
The next year the PSA level was up again, over 4.. so again, an ultrasound, and biopsy, and again, all negative, Diagnosis: prostatitis.
This rising PSA level continued for several more years, reaching around 10-11 for the last three years.
All Biopsies and ultrasounds were negative,, diagnosis: chronic prostatitis.

last october my PSA came in at 11.7, a slight rise over the last year, so again, an ultrasound and biopsy.
The urologist told me he saw nothing in the ultrasound, and the gland was smooth, no lumps or bumps..

But the biopsy came back positive, 2/6ths of the gland had 75% cancer cells in the biopsy samples.

Now, here's where I get on my soap box: I have ZERO Symptoms.. I don't have any lumps, bumps, problems starting to go or stopping,
and I don't have any irritation, or frequency problems,, I typically stay in the cockpit for 3-5 hours on transcon flights.
The first officers and Flight attendants' call me 'Captain Camel'..

So without getting regular blood tests and tracking my PSA levels, I would have NO CLUE that I have cancer..

SO GET ANNUAL PHYSICALS, get your PSA checked and track it from year to year. Do NOT rely on waiting to have lumps or urinary issues. It may be TOO LATE

Since I had been tracking my PSA, I was able to find the cancer early, while it was fully confined to the prostate.

There are lots of available proceedures,
Surgery: radical prostatectomy, the complete removal of the prostate,

Internal radiiation: Brachytherapy: either radioactive titanium 'seeds' are put in the gland, or radioactive needles are used to dose the gland with radiation.

External beam radiation: externally aimed radiation, focused on the prostate.

Cryotherapy: freeze the gland,

Hormone therapy: pretty much for late stage cancer, or for patients in their 'later years'.

I had been led to believe that 'only' radical prostatectomy would 'assure' that all the cancer was gone, and would not return.
I found out that that was inaccurate, that all the above therapies except for the hormone therapy have a 10-12% reoccurance of cancer after 10-15 years. The reason is that the prostate has blood flow, like all organs/glands, and the blood stream can carry cancer cells outside the prostate and those cancer cells can lodge in other locations in the body.. you can actually have prostate cancer in the bones, other organs etc..

So I decided to not risk the significant side effects that can happen with the radical prostatectomy, even the very best robtic surgeons can't guarantee full recovery of all your functions..
And, after 10 years of needle biopsies, the surgeons told me that the my rectum wall was stitched to the prostate with scar tissue . So I would have a perforated rectum, and have to have a colostomy bag for 6 weeks or so untill the rectum healed .

I decided to go with both Brachytherapy, using the radioactive needle dosing instead of the radioactive 'seeds' which stay in your body,, I can just see some idiot TSA moron with their 'wand' stuck between my legs, detecting the titanium seeds in my crotch.. Not going to happen..

I also am recieving external beam radiation following two Brachytherapy High Dose Radiation 'needle' surgerys.
The external beam radiation is a 6 week process. each day, 5 days a week I have an appointment to go 'hug' a Nuclear reactor !!

So I'll have several months after all the radiation is done, to get my urinary functions and bowel functions back to normal control levels, so I can reapply for my FAA 1st Class medical, and I can get back to work.


Ok, off my soap box.

Greg L

I elected to go with both forms of radiation.
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Re: Health Alert: Prostate Cancer.

PostBy: Poconoeagle On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:05 am

Dad had the lupren shots and seeds done 6 yrs ago. worked great. cancer free still...

been 3 yrs since I had the psa test guess its time.

prayer amendment occuring 8-)
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Re: Health Alert: Prostate Cancer.

PostBy: Freddy On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:27 am

Sorry to hear that your prostate is making for a speed bump in your life. I do have great faith in the process you have chosen and after the pain in the ass part is over I'm sure you'll be 100%.

Thank you for speaking up. It is clear to me that it is up to each of us men to make sure we are tested. I got a new Dr last year. My old Dr did a couple of PSA's "to get a baseline". My new Dr doesn't believe it's a good test and did only a finger swipe last year. After reading of your outcome I will certainly press her for another PSA this year. It may not be a perfect test, but until they find a better one it's the best.
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Re: Health Alert: Prostate Cancer.

PostBy: WNY On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 6:44 am

Exactly! Been getting check since I turned 40, my PSA number has always been < 1.0 and everything else checks out so far. My buddy at work got went thru it about 5 years ago and he if fine, did the radiation, etc....yes always get your numbers and checkups. Due for my next check up in April.

We also do a health fair at work usually every year and I always get it checked then too. Heck, it's free, so why not.

Good luck Greg!
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Re: Health Alert: Prostate Cancer.

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 6:51 am

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Re: Health Alert: Prostate Cancer.

PostBy: freetown fred On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:25 am

Good post Greg. I get mine checked every yr. Enlarged?? YES--Rise in PSA? NO--- Billy Crystal covered it well. " When I was younger, I used to pee like a race horse, now it's kinda like Morse Code" Funny how God will Bitch Slap us on ocassion in order to get us to SLOW down. Later my friend. :)
freetown fred
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Re: Health Alert: Prostate Cancer.

PostBy: GA cracker On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:40 am

Greg, glad you are paying attention to your health. The nurse in me must also say the same is just important about a colonoscopy starting at age 50. There is an old Chinese saying, "One disease, long life, many diseases short life."
GA cracker
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Re: Health Alert: Prostate Cancer.

PostBy: freetown fred On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:44 am

Native American saying (probably not) but I like it anyway. As long as you've got the disease & it doesn't have you, you'll do well. I firmly believe that attitude is 80 percent in dealing with this cancer thing.
freetown fred
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut

Re: Health Alert: Prostate Cancer.

PostBy: NWBuilder On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:48 am

Thank you for sharing your story Greg, I wish you the very best. Too many men don't even get regular physicals for whatever reason never mind checking on something that can kill you but is totally treatable.
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Re: Health Alert: Prostate Cancer.

PostBy: samhill On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:17 am

Good post Greg, the Va does a PSA with every blood test & I get to do the yearly smear thing. Never hurts to know what's going on inside, the shame is there are (especially in these times) many that have no insurance & can't afford yearly check ups & don't get to the doctors until too late & then it's in the ER, sad but a sign of the times. Men tend to take better care of their car than personal health.
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Re: Health Alert: Prostate Cancer.

PostBy: Berlin On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:22 am

I hope you make a full recovery, Greg.

When my grandfather was in his 60's he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I don't think they had any of these modern treatments then. He went in for the old fashioned radiation therapy and was "cured". In his late 70's his PSA level started rising. After the third year of it jumping up, he started to have concerns about his doctors advice. His doctor was in his 80's and my grandfather rightly thought that his judgement isn't what it should have been. for three years his doctor had told him not to worry about the levels and something similar to what Greg was told. Well after three years my grandfather got a second opinion. Unfortunately, by then it was too late and the cancer had spread to his bone and other organs. he hung on for another two years and died a slow painful death. There was little they could do because it had spread, had someone done a biopsy when the psa's started climbing he might be alive today. He was was in good health otherwise. Moral of this story is, if you think your doctor is blowing smoke up your ass, or is possibly senile, don't *censored* around for three years waiting to get a second opinion!
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Re: Health Alert: Prostate Cancer.

PostBy: LsFarm On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:53 am

I found that if you search around, you can find a clinic that will take your blood, and do the PSA test for very little money,,
When my doctor does the test, he bills the insurance company $95, and with copays, deductibles,etc, it often costs me over $20.

But I have a emergency care/clinic/outpatient hospital neaby that docs often send patients to for blood to be drawn..

At this clinic, my cost is $15, and the results are sent to the urologist of your choice.. So once this started getting interesting, about
6 years ago, I stopped by the clinic about 4-6 times a year, and sent off a PSA test to the urologist..

So looke around, and call clinics etc.. you can find something easier to do, and pay for than an office visit.. just get it set up,

Thanks to everyone for the kind words and thoughts,, but please save your prayers for my buddy Brian..

Greg L
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: Health Alert: Prostate Cancer.

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:00 pm

Greg, prayers don't have a quota. You both have mine.

Another thing to know is the PSA-f (free PSA) in relation to PSA. By all means we need to take care of ourselves.
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Re: Health Alert: Prostate Cancer.

PostBy: LsFarm On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:18 pm

True, I didn't get into the many, MANY, MANY details and bits of knowledge I've learned and gained over the last several months.

But I will say I was terrified of radiation, untill I had a great doc [my external beam radiation oncologist] spend about 3hours explaining all the detailed info about how it works, why it works, what was wrong with the old systems and methods, and what has been done to make it amazingly effective and with few side effects and little collateral damage to other organs and tissues.

My external radiation is aimed EVERY day with a CT scan, and if I move twitch, or fart during the dosing, it stops, takes another CT scan and resumes the dosing, so far I've not had to have it stop and restart,
And the old external beam radiation was a 'shotgun blast' from one direction, which caused a lot of skin burning, colateral tissue and organ damage, etc..
Then about 20 years ago, they split the beam into 4 beams, from top, both sides and from behind,, this allowed cutting the dosing from each to a 1/4 of the single dose, and since they all focused on the aimed sight, the combination of the 4 added up to be a theraputic dose..

My CT aimed radiation is dosed from a 360* ring, all around my abdomen, and after several weeks, I'm not even pink,, so no sunburn.. I do have internal irritation, which cannot be avoided, but so far it's tollerable,, as long as I stay within 15 seconds or 15 feet of a bathroom.. most of the time I'm only 'going ' about every 30 minutes.. I'm wearing out the zippers on my levis... :mad:

Greg L
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: Health Alert: Prostate Cancer.

PostBy: Rick 386 On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 6:11 pm

LsFarm wrote: .. I'm wearing out the zippers on my levis... :mad:

Greg L


Have you considered wearing a kilt ???? :D

Just trying to put a smile on your face !!!

Rick 386
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