In 2001, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was treated with
hormone therapy and radiation -- this brought his PSA to zero. Considered in
remission with never a mention of watching for a reoccurrence. In 2008, his PSA
spiked to .2. He was treated with hormone therapy again for 6 months which
brought his PSA down to .1.
He has been struggling with an insufferable body rash which has covered his
entire body for the past 14 months. After numerous doctor visits, consults and
biopsies, he is still without a cause or cure.
This past summer, he began to experience weakness in his back and legs and,
as a result, fell numerous times. He visited his internist who pronounced him
"fine" after a checkup and said he was "aging gracefully".
One day this summer he asked to be taken to the hospital due to extreme pain
in his back. ER did CT scan and diagnosed "possible cancer metastasized to
He has received four differing opinions and diagnoses:
Medical Oncologist #1
• biopsy and pet scan
• showed the cancer was "undifferentiated", in two areas in the vertebrae,
with lymph node involvement in groin area
• recommended radiation to rid pain in two spots in spine. (After the
radiation a vague recommendation for chemo for lymph nodes but didn’t
think this would help with only a 10-30% chance of eradicating the lymph
• Prognosis: 6 to 12 months' survival.
Radiation Oncologist #1
• gave opinion of para-aortic adenopathy in addition to the 2 spots in the
• chance of 2-3 years' survival.
Radiation Oncologist #2
• disagreed with both of them and said that the lymph nodes in stomach
were affected in addition to the two spots in the spine (NOT in the groin
• were told that radiation would follow for the lymph nodes in the abdomen
• now no mention or plan to radiate that area
Medical Oncologist #2
• is a colleague of medical oncologist #1
• concurred with her on treatment
• said the hormone treatment (Casodex and one shot per month of Lupron)
should take care of the lymph node involvement.
• will reassess in three months and said "maybe then we'll have to pull the
trigger" and then mumbled "chemo" (possibly realizing he had just made
a thoughtless comment)
We are completely confused and wonder why none of these doctors will put a
plan in place to treat the lymph nodes as we were told that they were of a very
aggressive nature and would spread.
BTW, my father just turned 87 yrs young and surely is not ready to die. We are
of the impression that his age is a factor as it has been mentioned many times
and not in a complimentary way. The first medical oncologist said that after all,
he has had nine years since he was first diagnosed.
We were never advised that it should be followed closely because of a chance of
reoccurrence. We had no inkling and are blaming ourselves for not realizing that
his symptoms suggested a return of his prostate cancer.
Does anyone have any suggestions as to what we can do if anything?
Are there any treatments that would help my Dad?