Prostate Cancer Surgery Shows No Benefit For Many Men

  • metta

    Posts: 39133

    Jul 19, 2012 12:27 AM GMT

    Prostate Cancer Surgery Shows No Benefit For Many Men

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/07/18/156992094/prostate-cancer-surgery-shows-no-benefit-for-many-men
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    Jul 19, 2012 12:44 AM GMT
    What this article fails to make clear is that observational management mostly applies to the elderly, and is also dependent on the evaluation of the cancer following a biopsy. If you read this article alone a man might get the impression it's OK to ignore his prostate cancer. That could be a fatal mistake, one that killed my late Father.

    I was told all this when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer last summer, at age 62, senior but not yet elderly. I also learned my cancer scored 8 on the Gleason Scale. That made it dangerously aggressive, not something for my doctors to sit around and "observe."

    But I also had options, that included surgical removal or radiotherapy. The choice was mine. A friend at age 70 had total removal of his prostate. He was left with impotence and incontinence. My partner at 70 had radiation therapy for prostate cancer. He isn't impotent or incontinent, and his cancer is gone. Tough choice for me, huh?

    And now my treatment is over, the cancer undetectable. But I won't be considered "cured" and unlikely to see a recurrence for years yet. Good news, though, is that I'm neither impotent nor incontinent. In fact, I'm getting better orgasms than before the cancer treatment.

    So this article points out some things that apply to some men, with some amounts of cancer. It would not have applied to me. The last thing any guy should take away from this is that prostate cancer can be safely ignored. Overly aggressive treatment may be a valid concern, but an inadequate response could be fatal.
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    Jul 19, 2012 12:54 AM GMT
    What this article fails to make clear is that you are not a statistic. It doesnt matter how the procedure does statistically or on average or whatever, if you die!

    Gentlemen, get yourselves tested and proceed accordingly. You may not be one whose PC just turtles along slow enough for you to croak of something else.
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    Jul 19, 2012 9:53 PM GMT
    Caslon20000 saidWhat this article fails to make clear is that you are not a statistic. It doesnt matter how the procedure does statistically or on average or whatever, if you die!

    Gentlemen, get yourselves tested and proceed accordingly. You may not be one whose PC just turtles along slow enough for you to croak of something else.

    Agreed. Even before this study was released, my doctors told me that if I were much older, 70s or 80s, and the biopsy showed the cancer wasn't very aggressive, then I, too, would have been advised to merely have observational management (wait & watch). And likely have gotten Lupron injections (which I did get) to suppress my testosterone, because the male hormone accelerates growth in prostate cancer. As one doctor said: "A slow cancer can take 20 years to spread and kill you, and by then most men are dead of something already. Why undergo the risk, complications and cost of treatment, when it won't buy you any more years?"

    But if you are 62, and your cancer is more aggressive like mine, then it would buy you more years. And definitely if you are 40 or 50. So that this article is misleading, and not very thorough, failing to stress the important variables of type and speed of the cancer, and the age of the patient.
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    Jul 19, 2012 9:59 PM GMT
    Had mine out at 52........if you want to know the real downside of this surgery, google " penile shrinkage after prostatectomy" and you will get an eyeful.

    The PSA level-----thanks to lurker cells that remain in the body----is rising once again, this is 7 yrs after surgery..........so it is a tough call since you cannot predict where it will go.
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    Jul 19, 2012 11:17 PM GMT
    wesbjack saidHad mine out at 52........if you want to know the real downside of this surgery, google " penile shrinkage after prostatectomy" and you will get an eyeful.

    The PSA level-----thanks to lurker cells that remain in the body----is rising once again, this is 7 yrs after surgery..........so it is a tough call since you cannot predict where it will go.

    I didnt have the surgery. They fried the tumor and starved the gland until it cried uncle.

    Eat your broccoli and tomatoes and carrots.
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    Jul 19, 2012 11:30 PM GMT
    My partner & I both had 6 weeks of daily radiation treatment, followed by radioactive seed implants. In fact, we were treated by the same oncologist. We had no tissue removed.

    At 8 years his PSA level remains undetectable. So is mine, but it's way too early to consider me cured, and the doctor still classifies me as being under treatment.

    I was also told there's a known risk of recurrence at about 20-25 years following radiation treatment. That's why it's not often used on younger men, because cancer could reappear when they've still got a number of years of life expectancy remaining. In our cases, by then I'll be in my 80s, my partner his 90s (with luck), so radiation was a reasonable option for us.