Treated 1997 • Posted 2003 • Updated 2009 & 2016
"My current PSA is 0.03 and has been at that approximate level since completion of treatment 18 years ago."
During my annual physical in 1992, the PSA was elevated to 7.4 with no abnormality evident by DRE. To be safe, I was referred by my internist to an urologist for further examination. After examination, ultrasound and biopsy, the diagnosis was grade 2 adenocarcinoma, Gleason primary grade 3. I also went through exhaustive testing with no evidence of metastatic disease anywhere else in the body.
My urologist considered the cancer possibly not requiring any immediate treatment but encouraged me to do my own research and seek other expert opinion on possible courses of action. He highly recommended Dr. Thomas A. Stamey, then Chairman of the Department of Urology at the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California. Dr. Stamey is a world-renowned expert and researcher in prostate cancer and has done extensive work on PSA. Dr. Stamey is now retired from clinical practice and is exclusively doing research into possible cures.
After examination and consultation in 1992, Dr. Stamey recommended "observation" and a regimen of hormones to be safe. I continued with this therapy until 1995, with no side effects. In late 1995, Dr. Stamey recommended that I have another biopsy to be sure that there were no changes in my condition although there was no evidence of change by DRE and my PSA was stable <2. There were slight changes in the biopsy result and Dr. Stamey recommended a curative approach be considered. He outlined all the possibilities including the work being done at Loma Linda University Cancer Center (proton therapy).
At the time, I was working in Los Angeles in the Aerospace Industry, leading a team in an important project. I researched all the curative options and LLUCC was the only option that would allow me to continue working without disruption. I met with a doctor at LLUCC in 1996 and scheduled treatment. There was a small hassle with the insurance, but we worked through that, eventually being covered. My doctor recommended a combined proton/photon treatment to be sure that the surrounding lymph nodes were covered, although proton alone would have probably been adequate in my case. I worked during my entire treatment under my doctor's care, commuting to Los Angeles, scheduling around vacation time, and plant closings over the Christmas holiday. Treatment was completed in February of 1997.
I have had no side effects except a small "rectal sunburn" issue over the years, which is not a problem. I retired from full time work in late 1999, and enjoy an active life. My current PSA is <0.1 and has been at that approximate level since completion of treatment almost 7 years ago.
The staff at LLUMC is exceptional. I feel privileged to be able to continue to contribute to support their great work.
Ed Solomon – Huntington Beach, California
Update: January 2009
I'm completing my 12th year post-treatment the first week of February, 2009. My current PSA is 0.1 and has continued at that level with no significant side effects since completion of treatment in 1997. I return to Loma Linda annually for routine testing.
My retired life continues to be very active. I enjoy golf and fishing and flying. Our grandson turns five in February and will receive his first set of golf clubs for his birthday from his grandparents.
I feel privileged to be able to continue to support the great work being done at the Dr. James M. Slater Proton Treatment and Research Center in Loma Linda, CA.
Update: January 2016
I have had no problems related to my prostate cancer in 18 years. My last PSA was measured in September, 2015 - it was 0.03.
For the last several years, I have been volunteering at the Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton. I assist in providing golf clinics to wounded warriors on a regular basis. I also give basic golf lessons to sight-impaired children at the VA Hospital in Long Beach. The work is very rewarding and keeps me busy.
Every July, I travel to British Columbia to fish with a few friends. I've been trying for 15 years to cacth the chinook salmon (king salmon). Although I've caught some big ones, I haven't caught the big one ... yet.