Treated 2002 · Posted 2003 · Updated 2015
“I had my last proton treatment on February 21, 2002 and haven't stopped smiling since!”
1994: PSA was 4.6. My doctor gave me Hytrin to lower PSA and keep my blood pressure in check. Blood pressure went up so the doctor stopped Hytrin, and I went back to prior blood pressure medicine. Nothing more said about PSA.
1998: New doctor. PSA 7.8. Had biopsy. No cancer found.
2000: Same doctor. PSA 8+. Had biopsy again. No cancer found.
03/2001: Same doctor. PSA 10.4.
05/2001: Same doctor. I had 3 weeks of antibiotics prior to next PSA test to determine if problem was Prostatitis.
06/2001: Same doctor. PSA 11+
07/2001: Same doctor. 3rd. biopsy procedure finally showed cancer in the left lobe. PSA 12.2. Gleason score 3+3=6. Prostate 2+ enlarged.
Naturally my doctor (urologist) was a surgeon and said this is what we will do. THE KNIFE! He was kind enough to mention several options, ie. standard radiation, seeds and proton. At that time my support group (my wife Ann) and I thought that surgery was the best answer. Just cut it out. But I decided to get on the Internet and look up treatment alternatives for prostate cancer. There is a lot of information on the subject including descriptions of the various treatments. Not too much on proton though. What I gleaned from this information was that proton was being used but was still in an experimental stage.
I had talked to several people that had the seed implants and they told me that was the only way to go. They knew of the proton treatment, but said it was too new and they didn't trust it.
They almost had me convinced ... Then, the turning point: I read a BOB member's testimonial and then communicated with him via email. That did it. That man is my hero.
Next I had to convince my HMO group that I should undergo proton therapy. I was due for a colonoscopy test for another problem, and I told this doctor about my cancer and that I was hoping to get proton. Well, he found diverticulosis and recommended proton treatment for my prostate cancer if I decided on radiation.
I interviewed a radiation oncologist at LLUCC. He said he could treat my cancer with conventional radiation but with diverticulosis the proton treatments would probably be better. My LLUCC doctor and my gastroenterologist convinced my HMO that I should have the proton radiation.
12/2001: I started the day after Christmas and had my 40th treatment on Feb. 21, 2002. Had a great crew in Gantry #3. Thanks, gang!
07/2002: I had my first post treatment PSA measured in July, and I was thrilled with the result, 0.1! So far, side effects are minimal, and those are decreasing every day. i.e. urinary burning and urgency, sore hips at the radiation entry points and general physical weakness.
09/2002: Had a Lupron shot in September and another 4 months later. Lupron is worse than the radiation. Though, with my PSA being over 10 my doctor thought I should have it.
I am ready to sing the praises of proton beam radiation treatment at LLUCC to every man I see.
I also want to thank my wife of 49 years, Ann, who gave up her golf to travel with me every day, 1 1/2 hours each way to LLUCC. You can't have better support than that.
I know this is long but I had to tell it like it is for the benefit of anyone with a similar history.
My last treatment was in Feb. 2002. My PSA at the start was 12.2 My first PSA test after treatment was 0.1 and today, it is still 0.1 after 10 years.
My overall health is very good and I am very active at age 80. My support group (my wife) and I walk our dog one mile several times a week and I play golf two to three times every week. I swim and work out at the gym, but not on a regular basis.
Thanks to proton therapy I am able to do the things I do and feel as good as I do. With any other treatment I doubt I would feel the same.
One caveat however ... protons allow me to play golf, but do not help the handicap!
I hope this update will help someone in their treatment decision.
My first proton treatment was December 26, 2001. I started with a PSA of 12.3.
My last treatment was in February, 2002. My fisrt PSA post-treatment was 0.1.
This is May 2015 and my last PSA was still 0.1.
I had no physical problems during treatment that kept me from my daily routine. Life has been great with no problems due to proton therapy. I have some "normal" problems that any 83-year-old man would experience, but that's life.
I play golf three times per week. We go on cruises whenever we want. You would never know I had cancer.
My one complaint with proton therapy at LLUCC is that it did not improve my golf score. I do think they need to work on that. ;)
Low PSAs to all!