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Radiation Needed After Surgery

Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2003

My husband just had surgery to remove his prostate. His surgery went fine with the nerves preserved and the bladder reattachment going smoothly. We were assured by 3 Drs that they were confident his cancer was confined. But the post surgery pathology report identified a microscopic break in the shell of the removed prostate. I'm not sure at this point what that means. His lymph nodes were clear. We will have our 1st post surgery appt with the dr next week. The dr is recommending radiation of the prostate cavity after his surgery recuperation (in approx 4-6 months). He said there is a chance no cells "escaped". But in the meantime, can anyone provide some feedback as to what can be expected or has anyone had a similar situation? My husband's pre-surgery PSA was 4.6, Gleason 6 (but after surgery they said it was 7) and he was T1C. He is 57 years old and his dad died of prostate cancer in the late 1970s. I'm also afraid of waiting....giving any potential cancer cells time to grow.

Posts: 117
Joined: May 2003

Your husband is in pretty much the same situation as I was back then. By the way the gleason score is a subjective measurement so it depends a lot on who is viewing the cells so I wouldn't be too concerned about the one level being a 6 (3+3) and the other a 7 (3+4).I would certainly allay your fears and suggest that you wait for the 3/6 (preferably 3) month psa readings which any rise would indicate the re-occurrence and give you plenty of time to consider radiation therapy because there are many side effects to be aware of, NOT to suggest NOT having the therapy if that situation does exist post the surgery!
Best of luck & hopefully he's cured now but do not rush into anything!There's lots of time to consider everything.

rogermoore's picture
Posts: 265
Joined: Mar 2002

Hi Carmenf,

I concur with Benji's response. I had my surgery at 58 with similar gleason scores. If three surgeons agree that the cancer was confined and that the nodes were clear I would feel very good about the situation.

As Benji said, the three or six month PSA results will be a good indication if the cancer may have escaped the gland.

As for the Radiation treatment I would want some stronger evidence that it is necessary prior to beginning the treatment. The PSA should be a good indicator.

Congratulations on the successful surgery and good reports. Best of luck in the future. Keep us posted on your husband's progress.


Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi, I am kind of in your same boat. My husband had his prostate removed Dec. 2nd and they were sure the cancer was completely contained. His PSA was 8.4, and I can't remember the Gleason right now, the cancer was not felt so we were assured that there was a great chance the cancer was contained. Here we are about 6 weeks later and his first PSA test after surger is 6 ??? Now we will wait 5 weeks to re-test then go from there. I just don't know what we do for the next 5 weeks, I have been researching the radiation and I am not sure if that is the best next step. We will have to cross our fingers and pray for the best. I hope everything has turned out well for your husband. I notice the date of your original message and hope all is well. I will go back to researching radiation and the life expectancy rates. Very scary! Thanks for listening.

Posts: 140
Joined: Sep 2001

Everyone wishes everyone "good luck" in their treatment however, there is no luck. Only informed decisions. We mean well but I try to focus on what are we trying to accomplish? Kill cancer and our focus MUST be on it!

My Mother-in-law has brain cancer,while transporting her to radiation each day for 4 weeks and talking to several patients, men and women -- SEVERAL are there even though " the doctors were confident they contained, removed or killed all of the cancer" or etc.... . Doctors are human and even with their best efforts, there are no guarantees. Now with that said, your husband evidently still has medical treatment options available - many of these other folks I met do not.

They, their doctors were not their being treated for cancer but, their patients were.

Your husband must decide why he went through with having surgery?

This is a case where the pathologist has a concern.?

I believe what he meant by a break (check with your medical doctors) that even with all of the professional care taken, there was a cut or break in the prostate itself which, could be cause for concern that one microscopic cell escaped.

Most treatments of male and especially female cancers I am aware of are now using TWO (2) therapies or what some are called cocktails which combine several cancer killing agents or procedures. They are finding it is more effective not only as a cure but part of the treatment to insure (to the best of their ability) they got all of it.

Your husband needs to ask himself, what was the purpose of having surgery? If the answer was to kill the cancer then he too must ask if HE is willing to take the risk by not having followup radiation.

Yes there are side effects to radiation as well having cancer.

He has a history of cancer (father) and you have the pathologists concern. Remember, HE is the one with the cancer, not his doctors, pathologist or us who are putting our two cents in for moral support when asked but, HE must make the decision and there is no luck associated with it.

I had cancer at 57-1/2. Elected to have radiated seed implant with hormone therapy prior and post seeds. This was my informed decision after much research. I could have choosen another BUT for ME this was my choice. No luck - researched and made MY decision for many of my own reasons. I too was not going to have the hormone therapy with my treatment due to side effects, until I understood it aided in the killing of cancer cells with radiation. Side effects or not, my goal was to kill the cancer, take the year or so to recupurate and then get on with my life. Your husband needs to consider all of the possibilities of side effects, cost, healing time etc... against the possibility that it was not all contained. I believe it is easier to treat where it is now verse later. IF it was not contained and spreads the treatment and side effects are much greater.

God Bless and stay in touch.

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