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Brian W lives in Texas, USA. He was 53 when he was diagnosed in November, 2013. His initial PSA was 4.90 ng/ml, his Gleason Score was 6, and he was staged T1c. His choice of treatment was Other (Other). Here is his story.

I have been suffering from urination issues for at least 6 years. My doctors told me I had a large prostate (later found that it is normal size). My father had a large prostate and underwent a TURP procedure to correct his urinary issues at 60 yrs of age. My family doctor told me 3 years ago that I most likely had prostate cancer. He stated this because my PSA jumped from 2.5 to 3.5. When my urologist performed my first biopsy 3 years ago, it was negative. I then proceeded to have a tuna procedure treatment to open up my urine flow. That was not fun. Not sure I would do that again if I had another chance to redo that part of my life. Urine flow is better though.

My PSA initially went down after the tuna procedure but climbed a year ago back to 3.5. After antibiotics, the PSA settled down to around 3.5. That was fine until last month when I went in for my semi annual blood work (taken because I was on Lipitor). This time, the PSA was 5.4. My doctor performed my second biopsy. This time, one of twelve cores was found 5% cancer. That took my breath away. My wife and I cried for a short time. Then started to figure out our next step.

I then called my friend (older of course) who had went through radical prostatectomy by one of the many highly skilled doctors here in Houston. He expressed concerns for me and how I should check out all my options. His issue (4 years post removal) was that he was still unsatisfied with his results (ED). Sex was not at all good for him and his wife.

I looked into the proton therapy center here at MD Anderson. And made 2 appointments with highly skilled surgeons.

I decided that proton therapy treatment was not for me. The long term after affects seem too much up in the air for me to make a concrete decision. That left the surgeons.

The first surgeon was top of his class. He told me and my wife exactly what we wanted to hear. That the prostate had to come out but the removal could wait. He stated that I was a perfect candidate for active surveillance and scheduled me for a MRI in January. We left in a good mood.

My second surgeon (later that same day) told me that active surveillance was an option but if it was him, he would remove the prostate immediately. Removal is what I am hearing from all my doctor friends (3 out of 3 told me to remove it). But sex is so much a part of my life that I couldn't think of being without intercourse with my wife for months or years. Interesting, both surgeons played down the ED issue.

At this point, we are waiting on the PSA and T test MD Anderson did the other day and will do the MRI in January. Interesting, I have a low T issue which just started last month too. This may play into my decision on removal or wait. I don't need low T issues. And I wouldn't want to treat my T issues with cancer cells waiting for the fuel to grow.

Intercourse and sex overall at this point is great.


February 2014

I had my MRI last month. That was not fun. The procedure took almost an hour. The results showed two areas of concern. One in the area where the biopsy showed cancer and another one just below on the same side. Both are on the right side (upper and lower sides). Size and shape of the prostate was fine. Nothing showed up outside my normal shaped prostate. I am scheduled for another biopsy next month (my third) in March to explore that second area that showed up on the MRI. The doctor will use a new software that links the MRI pictures up with his ultrasound to pin point the areas of concern and take samples in those areas only.

I have been going back and forth on whether or not to proceed with surgery. The proton therapy offered here in Houston is appealing. I hope I can wait a couple more years before I have to decide. MD Anderson is conduction a survey currently to put together a comprehensive report on the side effects of Proton Therapy. MD Anderson has only been doing the treatment since 2006. I really want to know what side effects are encountered, if any at 10 yrs and beyond.

At this point, I am eating better and staying active. I want my health better than ever so I can deal with this decision while I am as strong as possible. I have some fatigue after exercise due to my low T. That is the only issue I am dealing with now.


April 2014

Currently under active surveillance. My third biopsy taken March 31, 2014, the first since I was diagnosed last November, just came back 14 cores negative. Considering I was about to have surgery last December, my choice of watchful waiting, seems to have worked for now. Of course, my wife says it was the brussel sprouts and prayer.

Best of luck to all of those under treatment and recovery. For now, I am signing off. Brian.


June 2015

It is been a year since my last biopsy came back negative and 2 years since my positive biopsy. My last PSA; was elevated. Therefore my doctor performed a pca-3 procedure which came back 54. A 54 is positive for cancer for this test (anything over 30 is considered high and at risk). My doctor, based on the PCA-3 results and elevated PSA, performed my fourth biopsy, taking 12 samples. All 12 samples were negative. I am on Active Surveillance with my next PSA in 6 months. Looks like I dodged the bullet again. Where are those cancer cells hiding? We will have to wait to find out.


July 2016

Semi-Annual PSA is 6.0, just up .1 from December 2015. Annual biopsy coming up in September. Results to follow.


December 2016

It has been 6 years since my first biopsy. 2016 has gone by so fast. I was scheduled to have my 5th biopsy in the summer. I found a reason to put it off. I am not sure why the procedure that I had had so many times before was giving me so much anxiety this time. The MRI and PSA testing (5.9) was done in October. After rescheduling the biopsy a couple of times, I show up for the procedure.

My doctor walked in at 8:15am and started by telling me that he had a deal for me. He told me that since my last 2 biopsies were negative, if this one was negative I only had to follow up with PSA and annual MRI screening. That was the first of the good news. He then told me while I was laying butt naked on the table that if I didn't want to do this one, that I could skip it. That the MRI I just had a couple a weeks earlier showed a normal prostate. I told him that since I was here and it was tough getting me here, let's do it.

The biopsy like the past ones went quick with the doctor taking the 12 cores as fast as he could. I was out of there before I had to pay any parking fee. I immediately left town for the city for a couple of days of rest. The nurse told me to take it easy and I would have the results back next week. Monday morning came and the email showed up which stated that all 12 cores were negative. Well that was great news. 5 biopsies and now I just have to calm my PSA down each year to avoid another.

I strongly believe that my biopsy that resulted in one core 5% positive for cancer was either a false positive or simply so little cancer that my body cleaned any remaining cancer up after I started to get serious about my diet and exercise. And to think that I had 1 doctor ready to perform Proton Therapy and another doctor who wanted to cut out my prostate immediately, makes me think that there must be a lot of needless treatments going on out there for men under the same situation as me. For now, it is time to stay healthy and pray for all those men not as lucky as I seem to be at this point.

Brian's e-mail address is: brianwomac AT aol.com (replace "AT" with "@")