Treated 2001 • Posted 2001
“There are a lot of happy members of the Brotherhood of the Balloon. I'm one of them.”
I will relate to you my experience with Proton Beam Therapy. My PSA jumped from 1.9 to 2.4 last year. My doctor was suspicious because I have a family history of prostate cancer. After the ultrasound and biopsys, one sample produced a Gleason score of 3+3=6. I studied all of the options, as you are doing. I talked to past patients who had surgery, radiation, and proton beam therapy. Everyone thought their treatment was good, except I noticed that the side effects for each were being downplayed a little bit. I didn't hear of any side effects, however, from the proton beam therapy patients.
My wife, after reading and hearing of the side effects of all of the treatments, insisted that I get proton beam therapy. I agreed with her, which was the smart thing to do, and I went through all of the necessary steps to get PBT. I have to tell you that my 9 week stay in Loma Linda was like a very nice extended vacation. The treatments were short. I never felt sick nor did I have any symptoms that indicated I had anything wrong with me. During treatment, the only discomfort I had was an increased frequency in urination, which interrupted my sleep, and some pain or burning sensation when I urinated or had sex. I did experience some fatigue by the end of the treatments, but I feel it was due to the interruptions during my sleep at night to go to the bathroom. The insertion of the balloon during treatment was no big deal.
Both of my hips are tanned to match the tools that were used to shape the proton beam. I exercised every day while at Loma Linda. I went to movies and did some sightseeing. One long weekend, my wife and I spent in Las Vegas. When I returned home, all of my friends were surprised that I looked so good. They expected to see someone who had been through a rough ordeal with radiation. I've experienced no pain and the side effects associated with urination disappeared within two weeks. My four month followup PSA was 0.7. Twelve years ago it was 1.0. It was slowly moving upward until last year, as I stated earlier. Now its back down again and I expect it to go much lower.
I feel I was blessed to hear about Loma Linda and the Proton Beam Therapy. I keep meeting guys who have had the surgery or seed implants or regular photon radiation and they all have problems relating to incontinence and impotence. Most of them don't seem to feel their problems are major, but I don't have any of them. One guy I've met, had the laproscopic surgery. He only had to stay in the hospital one day. He had little pain, but he's wearing a pad yet for the incontinence and he's impotent right now.
I would recommend Proton Beam Therapy highly if the PSA is low and the cancer is considered to be contained within the prostate. There are a lot of happy members of the Brotherhood of the Balloon. I'm one of them. Good luck in your selection.
I pray that God will guide you in your treatment selection. I know He helped me.