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Radiation with Hormone Therapy-Firmagon

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello Kongo ,VGama & ALL wanting to follow my journey. I took the advice of Kongo & will post my journey on this site.

A few details> Original PSA was 55 , Gleason score of 9. Both Bone scan & MRI were clear-no metastasis. Also had a cystoscopy & confirmed nothing spread to the bladder. Had 3 gold seeds inserted into the prostrate January 12,2011 which will act as a GPS to guide the radiation beam to the prostrate. Latest PSA after two shots of Firmagon was>4.1 Got a third shot in the stomach 0n Jan.26th --in a month I'll see what the new PSA reading is--
hoping it goes to zero especially with the radiation treatments helping it along. The prostrate also shrank & was 17 grams vs. original of 30.

Yesterday -January 28,2011 I was told I will be receiving a wide beam dose of radiation (180 Grey) with 80 concentrated to the prostrate. (I was very concerned with the high dosage & questioned it)This will cover the siminal vesicles & lymph nodes in case any microscopic cells are located there. I was also told-The higher dose to the prostrate alone is to help assure the cancer doesn't return in years to come.
After some research, I accepted it & just for info> according to CURE magazine ---radiation is the NEW surgery without using a knife.
Two sessions were held prior to the start of actual radiation. One was to make a form fitting mold of my upper torso, apply 3 very small tattoos(size of a freckle)to the area being treated again for alignment of the form assuring I'm in the same position every day--similar to a jig if your a machinist.
The second was a simulation run to take X-ray pictures for proper mapping of the beam. Treatment day> you undress in a private room (remove everything from the waist down--you can keep your shirt & shoes on)--I was given a gown & a sheet to wrap around myself due to the open rear. I laid on a table with the VARIAN machine directly above me , the technicians adjusted me via moving the sheet around & adjusted the table to line up all the marks,the body cast was installed & the technicians left the room. They stay behind a 5 ft. thick wall but can talk to me with a microphone etc.-pictures are also on monitors they watch. The machine made two 90 degree arcs on both sides of my body --I didn't feel a thing & it was over (time -less than 10 min.) Forgot to mention I had to drink 16oz. of water prior to start --this helps keep the bladder out of the way. Got up, went to dressing room & left. So far so good--no discomfort but realize this was my first treatment. Hopefully this initial dose killed some of the cancer cells. Cordially
Radiation Hopeful

Kongo's picture
Kongo
Posts: 1167
Joined: Mar 2010

Hopeful, congratulations on the embarkation of this phase of your battle against prostate cancer. You have gone through an extensive educational and physical preparation and now you have to trust your medical team and the technology they are bringing to bear to treat your cancer. I hope your treatment sessions go smoothly and you come out the other side free of side effects and see many positive indications that all of this effort is curbing your PCa.

We will all be looking forward to your progress reports.

Wishing you the very best.

K

VascodaGama's picture
VascodaGama
Posts: 1519
Joined: Nov 2010

RadHope

Your post is impressive. You serve as a good example of the many that get to this forum frightened by the news of having prostate cancer, confront the situation by educating own self on the problematic theme, and then turn that fear into a source of expertise offered to other fellows in the same situation.

Along your path you can expect moments of uncertainty but those will turn into occasions of joy and relief that you will remember as milestones in your fight.
Please keep posting your experiences.

I wish you a continuous uneventful treatment with successful results.
VGama.

FreddyJoe
Posts: 42
Joined: Dec 2010

I had a similar treatment well over a year ago. I had the body cast made, the markers inserted and the tattoo dots, and drank a lot of water before the treatment. The object of the water was to keep the bladder full. The machine would move the table slightly if the bladder or bowel was filling and moved the prostate markers. My radiation was non eventfull to me. I left work a little early to get the treatment and kept a fishing rod in the car and fished several times after the treatment before I went home.
The hormone therapy after that for over a year has had more side effects than the radiation. My last couple of PSA test were zero. I am glad I did not let them talk me into
surgery.

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello Freddy Joe & Thanks for the reply & experience you encountered--your outcome is FANTASTIC. May you keep the PSA at zero the rest of your life. What Hormone therapy are you on? Do you know how much radiation (dose)you were given?
Would you mind informing me about some of your statistics? My E-mail address is in my original post if you do not want to post personal info.

Freddy Joe>
After considerable research, I chose radiation over surgery for several reasons. One of them was I want to go after the ROOT CAUSE of the problem, that is the radical cells that turned cancerous. Hopefully by killing them since they are much weaker than normal cells,& this can be done several ways-radiation being one of them. Hopefully the normal cells can eventually take over which is what appears to have happened with your treatment. I respect everyone for their chosen treatment of choice & pray all can recover from this disease.
Looking forward to more posts.

ALSO THANK YOU to everyone that posts replies (Kongo,VGama etc.)----they are all very uplifting giving support & advice which is appreciated. "BLESS everyone"

Rad Hopeful

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

All --second day of treatment similar to first only the Varian radiation machine made two 180 degree arcs on each side of my body. When completed , I asked the rad technician if I had enough water in my bladder to keep it away from the rad beam. She told me they can't tell where the bladder is lying that I should just drink the same amount of water each day at least 1/2 hour prior to treatment.
Guess I just follow her recommendation & hope for the best. Each day there are new technicians involved with my treatment, I would like some consistency but have no choice.

Rad Hopeful

Kongo's picture
Kongo
Posts: 1167
Joined: Mar 2010

Hopeful,

When I went through my treatments I had the same team, there were two of them, and sometimes one was there or the other. The important thing is that they are following an approved radiation plan which has been made specially for you. Building the radiation plan involves a radiation physicist, a dose physicist, your board certified radiologist, and the doctor who is supervising your overall treatment. In my case they developed a 3-D image that they showed me and it highlighted the areas in the anatomy that were getting which dose levels and how they were avoiding certain other areas.

The next time you go in for treatment, ask them to show you the plan and how they verify everything is set up right so that it doesn't realy make much difference which technician is pushing the buttons.

Best,

K

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello Kongo & THANKS for the post

FYI> I DO NOT see anyone but the three lady technicians each day. I would love to see the actual plan but was told it was mapped out after x-rays were taken. I'm being treated at a local hospital which has a Cancer center & rely on their expertise. The radiation oncologist I spoke to before the treatments started had very good credentials & I'm more or less relying on her expertise. Providing I get to see her again, I'll ask for a description of the areas being treated. I did call & asked about the high dose of 180grey & she did call me back to inform me they planned a broad beam rad treatment due to the original high PSA & Gleason score.
I appreciate your post--once again you are giving good advice & food for thought. It appears you were treated at a very good cancer center.

Rad Hopeful

FreddyJoe
Posts: 42
Joined: Dec 2010

I really did not pay much attention to the numbers at the time. I do not know what the Gleason Scores were. And I am not sure of the radiation dose. I was sort of in denial about the whole thing until recently. I had no symptoms that I knew of, and was shocked when they said my PSA was so high and that I should have a biopsy ASAP. They had support group meetings and I refused to go, and it was not bothering me in the least. I am on Eligard and after several months of it, I began to have some of the usual side effects, and that is when I started the research and found this forum. I am scheduled for what they say should be my last injection of the stuff in about a week, and may try to talk the Dr out of it or changing to another one. My thought was, since it did not bother me before I found about it and it was only in the prostate that I did not want them cutting on me, so I got the radiation and I am quite happy with the results, compared to what I hear from some who have had surgery.

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Thanks for the reply Freddy Joe

FYI>My urologist wanted to change from Firmagon to Eligard but I requested to stay on the Firmagon monthly shots. I read some terrible side affects from the ELigard vs. the Firmagon & didn't want to face unknown issues while going through radiation treatments. The reason for the switch I was told --that a 4 month shot is available with Eligard rather than coming in monthly. My urologist isn't in the same hospital where my radiation oncologist resides thus I don't know how this may affect my treatment.
I'm VERY HAPPY to hear your end result & hope I can achieve similar results.
I'm sure you heard >We are all snowflakes & as such everyone chose their form of treatment based on their own research/reasoning. So far I'm glad I chose the radiation treatment especially after hearing your end result. Thank you for the reply, I truly appreciate it.

Rad Hopeful

VascodaGama's picture
VascodaGama
Posts: 1519
Joined: Nov 2010

Hi RadHope,
I like to read about your progress. You shouldn’t be concerned if your urologist is in a different hospital. Firmagon can be given to you also at your radiotherapy clinic. Just certify the matter with your doctor or, if you prefer to be followed by your urologist, mark the date in your calendar and call him a few days in advance.
The treatment at your local clinic also includes an identical team of physicists as described by Kongo. You can rely on your radiation oncologist and you should request an appointment if you want to clarify anything along your progress, or report about any symptom.
The daily Gys will differ as per treatment area. However, it is new to me to hear of 180Gys. It is more likely 80 Gys (?) as you mentioned in another thread.
In my case (no prostate) I had 68Gys in 37 sections.

I wish you a continuous uneventful progress.
VGama

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

VGama
Thanks for the post--as noted earlier I did question the radiation oncologist about>180grey & was told the high dose is due to my high Gleason Score & psa reading -it will be a wide beam radiation to cover vesiles & lymph glands---80 will be going to the prostrate itself.
I'm somewhat concerned even after this explanation. Last evening I had pain in my hip & I can only assume it was from the radiation. I sure don't want bone problems on top of what I'm facing. Never had pain in my hip until this treatment? If I press on the hip bone I can feel the pain--right side only.
The MRI & bone scan showed clear-no evidence of metatasis.Plus the Bladder was clear -confirmed via a spectoscopy exam.
WE have a snow/ice storm this morning, all the schools are closed but I will try & get to the hospital for my treatment. (I want to let them know about the hip pain I experienced)

Hope things go better today & Thanks again for the post
RadHopeful

Mark58
Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2004

You are probably receiving 180 centigreys (180 Rads) per day total with portions of that total going to specific areas. That's what I received. Now, mine was a salvage situation, but still, a centigrey is equivalent to the old Rad unit of radiation measurement (1 Rad = 0.01 Grey or 1 centigrey. Ask your radiation oncologist. I don't think you would want to receive 180 greys in one day. That would be more than 3 times the annual (whole body) dose limit for a radiation worker. That could be dangerous.

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello Mark58

Thanks for the info---you are correct it's 180 centigreys with 80 going to the prostrate. I had my third treatment this morning & questioned the dose etc. I was told I will be receiving 25 treatments with the broad beam radiation & the last 19 with the conformed style. Only 41 more treatments to go, should be done when spring arrives.

Rad Hopeful

VascodaGama's picture
VascodaGama
Posts: 1519
Joined: Nov 2010

RadHope

Yes, no cancer but flowers, that’s what you can expect for spring.
Some guys experience pain in the spine or muscle due to the strict positioning in the mold during treatment. Without noticing we are nervous and tense, and that cause a variety of symptoms.
Nevertheless you should tell the staff about the matter and get a satisfying answer. Radiation does not hurt or cause damage is such low doses (1.80Gy) at the pelvic area. Usually symptoms, if any, become apparent on the 5th week. Shoveling snow could be the cause of the pain too.
Do not worry. Think that each time you are under radiation some of the “cancer cells” are being killed. Soon all is part of the past.
Thanks Mark for clearing the rad measurement. My sections were also similarly of 1.7Gy.

Wishing you both good prognoses.
VGama

FreddyJoe
Posts: 42
Joined: Dec 2010

I do not understand the pain either. I had 44 of these treatments, working standing on my feet all day during and after the treatment with no pain. During my treatment we had a weekly visit with the Dr., but he was not in the room during the treatments.

FreddyJoe
Posts: 42
Joined: Dec 2010

Deleted- the computer posted it twice.

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Thanks everyone for the posts

First >I apologize for the misunderstanding of the dosage grey to centigrey--quite a difference. (Thanks to Mark58)

Second> The pain I experienced was from bumping into the snow plow not the radiation

Third> Yesterday I had my third treatment & noticed the rad machine (Varian) made a complete 360 degree circle. The first treatment it made 90 degree arcs on each side of my body & the second made 180 degree arcs each side. I questioned this & was told I'm receiving the same treatment each day. I'm still wondering why the difference in rotation each day?
Today will be my 4th treatment if I can get in --we had a ice storm last night, my spouting is a solid ice cube & the water is backing up under the shingles. I must clear the overhang & spouting as soon as I can. Thank goodness I'm still feeling "OK" to perform said task.
4th Treatment today --Machine made a 360 arc. The tech informed me they can't control the way the machine delivers the dose but it's supposedly the same every day.
Bless you EVERYONE that is supplying info & hope as I venture into this treatment.

Rad Hopeful

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello VGama & Thanks again for the reply

I did some quick calculations on the dosage & would like your opinion

If 1 Rad equals 0.01 grey or 1 centigrey----.01 times the 180 centigrey dose times the 44 treatments equals 79.2 Grey (TOTAL)----- & 44% of the daily dose goes to the prostrate> .44 times 79.2 equal only 35 to the prostrate.

But I must remember I'm receiving 25 treatments (broad beam) & the last 19 focused on the prostrate --perhaps it all works out.

I value your opinion & look forward to a reply

Bless all afficted with this demon

Rad Hopeful

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello VGama & Thanks again for the reply

I did some quick calculations on the dosage & would like your opinion

If 1 Rad equals 0.01 grey or 1 centigrey----.01 times the 180 centigrey dose times the 44 treatments equals 79.2 Grey (TOTAL)----- & 44% of the daily dose goes to the prostrate> .44 times 79.2 equal only 35 to the prostrate.

But I must remember I'm receiving 25 treatments (broad beam) & the last 19 focused on the prostrate --perhaps it all works out.

I value your opinion & look forward to a reply

Bless all afflicted with this demon

Rad Hopeful

barbercheech's picture
barbercheech
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2011

Glad to hear that. i had the same type of radiation treatment.i had 44 treatments plus lupron shots and 2 years later PSA Is Still .005. Reading These Posts Make me Realize how many Guys Are Going Through This With A Lot of Hope And good Results

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

I have a few questions to ask--appreciate it

Rad Hopeful

2ndBase's picture
2ndBase
Posts: 220
Joined: Mar 2004

My starting psa was 24 and Gleason 9. I took one shot of Lupron to shrink the prostate and then received the maximum dose allowed of radiation over the next couple months. I was 52 when diagnosed. My psa dropped to .17 after treatment. The treatment killed all the cancer cells in my prostate. This was confirmed by another biopsy 4 years later. Unfortunately the cancer had already spread, this was assumed, and now almost 8 years later I am in hospice care with many tumors on spine and other bones throughout my body. My hospice oncologist was at my house last week and explained how it all works and told me what to expect when the end comes. Hospice has done a very good job in controlling my pain and believe me it is not easy to do. I do hope your cancer has not spread at all and you have a long and full life. In my case it was somewhat disappointing to find out that the radiation had killed all the cancer in my prostate because that, along with a rising psa meant the cancer was thriving somewhere else. I had hoped to find a little cancer left in the prostate and then we were going to freeze what was left. Anyway the radiation did what it was supposed to do and I hope you have total success. It seems to me with my radiation that it was not the same every day as far as location and dosage of radiation but it was done well and it did all it could do. All the best.

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

2nd Base

Sorry to hear your outcome after radiation, I guess my question is if your doctor noticed the rising PSA after treatments why wasn't anything done to control it? Can you tell me what year you had this treatment done--was it back in 2002? Weren't you monitored as you were receiving radiation treatments?
Todays technology is using a broad beam radiation approach to try & capture any microscopic cells that may have escaped from the prostrate.
Do you know if you had the broad beam treatments. I ask this based on your post that 8 years have passed & you are now in Hospice.
It's good to see you enjoyed 8 years but the end result isn't pleasant. Thank you for the well wishes --I send the same to you > Isn't there anything else that can be done to save you?
Bless you in your struggle --wishing you the best

Rad Hopeful

VascodaGama's picture
VascodaGama
Posts: 1519
Joined: Nov 2010

RadHope
I do not know how to dose plan radiation or how to calculate it. My case was as 2ndBase commented above, different location in the pelvic gets different dosage. The plan summarized in the radiologist report says this; “Ten fields (isodose) for radiation in the pelvic as follows: 45Gy in 1.8Gy/fraction/day, plus a isodose of 9.0Gy in 1.8Gy/fraction/day, plus an isodose of 14.0Gy in 2.0Gy/fraction/day; for a total of 68Gys in 37 sections”. You can ask about the dosage planned for your case. The report I got describes all in detail (4 pages) and the radiologist shown me in the computer those ten fields in 3 dimension before starting the treatment. We hold consultations once a week where I was informed of the progress and to discuss about any symptom.

I presume that your broad beam (lymph-nodes, prostate fossa, etc) may represent what it was done to me, but you will receive radiation to the prostate that might be of higher doses (2.5Gy/fraction ?). You can ask for a copy of the plan together with the report.
I had radiation sections every day except on Sundays. It all went smooth.
Good luck to you.
VGama

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello VGama & all

Had my 6th treatment today & all is well, a blood count is now being done, should have results by Monday according to the nurse who drew the blood. I'm glad to see they are monitoring the red/white blood cells.
I did get to see the radiation oncologist & she explained what areas were being radiated along with the dosage similar to what you explained in your post. I was shown pictures & graphs -very technical info plus was told she will see me at the end of each week as we move forward again similar to what you experienced. I will be receiving 180 centigrey everyday throughout the 44 treatment sessions with 25 being wide beam & 19 focused on the prostrate itself.
Thanks for the posts & I pray for everyone facing this challenge.
God Bless

Rad Hopeful

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello VGama & all

Had my 6th treatment today & all is well, a blood count is now being done, should have results by Monday according to the nurse who drew the blood. I'm glad to see they are monitoring the red/white blood cells.
I did get to see the radiation oncologist & she explained what areas were being radiated along with the dosage similar to what you explained in your post. I was shown pictures & graphs -very technical info plus was told she will see me at the end of each week as we move forward again similar to what you experienced. I will be receiving 180 centigrey everyday throughout the 44 treatment sessions with 25 being wide beam & 19 focused on the prostrate itself.
Thanks for the posts & I pray for everyone facing this challenge.
God Bless

Rad Hopeful

2ndBase's picture
2ndBase
Posts: 220
Joined: Mar 2004

I was given a 50% chance to survive 2 years and a 2% chance to make it to 10 years when diagnosed. There is a fair chance I will make it for all 10. I took no further treatment after radiation by choice as I wanted the best quality of life and any treatment after cancer has spread seldom if ever does anything to extend one's life and may more likely cause one's death. I received the very latest treatment at a top notch facility and of course I was monitored. As I posted I have no cancer in my prostate and what more can the treatment do? My tumors are now in my bones like the spine, hip, shoulder, etc. I could have taken a lot more hormone shots and chemo and chose not too and am so happy I did not. I am still working a job I like for 18 hours a week and I can still play golf. You are right the end of life with this cancer is not pleasant. A whole lot of pain when it gets to the bone. Morphine and marijuana pills and steriods keep my pain level at aboout a 4 to 5. Hospice tells me I can move on to much stronger pain killers as needed, so not to worry.
The best treatment I used was getting the stress out of my life and that along with great support from my wife and family is the main reason for having survived so long. If I had kept taking hormone shots my psa would have not gone up as fast, but there is no evidence that keeping your psa number down after treatment, assuming the cancer has spread, allows one to live longer. I saw my previous wife die of breast cancer 11 years ago and she took every treatment they offered. The side effects left her disabled for the last two years. I told myself never again.
No, there is nothing medically that can be done to save me. A miracle on the other hand would be welcome. Mark

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello 2nd base

I respect your decision to proceed as you have & it's great you WILL make the 10 year mark-remain positive --miracles do happen.
FYI>I subcrbe to the NHD Health Watch & received the latest E-mail dated Feb3,2011. It states there is an amazing non-toxic liquid that kills cancer cells.
Don't know the facts of such claims but you may want to read the report. Try going on line & access the NHD Health Watch site. Don't know if it's a a scam or legitimate. Perhaps some others on this site are aware of it & can lend insight.

If it's not legit than what kind of people would try & make money off those with cancer issues & why is it even allowed to be published.

I thought of you as I read some of the testomonials claiming people with only weeks to live were cured--like I said it sounds too good to be true but thought I would pass the info along. (You have nothing to lose in reading the report & forming your own opinion)

Wishing you many more years of life & a pain free future, "I'll pray for you"
God Bless

Rad Hopeful

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello KONGO , VGama & all

I promised updates as I journey through the Rad treatments>
Today was my 7th treatment & all went well. Got the results of my CBC (complete blood count) which I had taken on Friday the 4th---all within acceptable tolerance--makes me happy. I will have such a test every week per the nurse.
I truly hope I'm not boring anyone, I'll stop if I am. Don't want to offend anyone or get anyone upset. This was my choice of treatment & I was willing to share the results giving others hope & insight as to what & where this type of treatment involves.
We all have a HUGE burden on our shoulders & I respect everyone for their choice of treatment.
I pray for all afflicted with this cancer & hope a cure will be found very soon.
Bless everyone
Rad Hopeful

Kongo's picture
Kongo
Posts: 1167
Joined: Mar 2010

Hopeful, thanks for the update and I'm glad things continue to go well for you in this treatment. Please keep us informed of your progress.

K

VascodaGama's picture
VascodaGama
Posts: 1519
Joined: Nov 2010

RadHope
I hope you do not get bore yourself and stop posting. Today is yours 8th section, and to keep you entertained, let me tell you that in the Mediterranean rim countries we have a meaning for each number. For the seventh we say “It was full and complete, and good” for the eighth we say “It is over and above the perfection of the 7th, it is complete”.

I wish you a continuous uneventful progress.
VGama

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Thank you VGama & Kongo for the replies

Morning>Makes me feel more comfortable knowing there is interest in my posts.
Today will be my 8th treatment & I do have to tell them about a little discomfort I had last evening -not severe but I could feel a sporadic pain in my right side near the appendix area --perhaps nerve irritation. Don't feel it all the time just periodically. I'll mention it just to be on the side of caution. Did anyone experience this?
Other than that, I feel fine.
Afternoon>Back from treatment at the hospital> all went well I did inform the technician about my discomfort last evening & it was put in the records, I'm to let them know if it happens again. So far so good--guess I'm jittery about everything with this cancer & treatment. I must try to relax more but find it difficult. The weather is still bad--supposed to go to five above zero tonight--another night to keep the pellet stove going. Next week they are predicting temperatures in the forties--(here comes spring).
Again I pray for everyone having to address this disease.
Rad Hopeful

Kongo's picture
Kongo
Posts: 1167
Joined: Mar 2010

I know what you mean about weird sensations during treatment. I recall during my first session my arm fell asleep and I was afraid to move it because I thought it would screw everything up. Then my nose started itching and was driving me crazy because I thought I couldn't scratch it. Later they told me it was okay to move my arm!

I listened to music from my iPod during treatment (tried to pick out something calming) and that seemed to help me take my mind off of what was going on but after the first session, I really didn't have any issues.

Hope your weather abates.

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Kongo>
Thanks for the reply
Both you & VGama are inspirations to all of us with your knowledge & personal experience-"Thank You"
Happy to report -NO Discomfort or pain last evening & ready for round 9 today.
Very cold here in Pennsylvania--5 degrees last night & another couple nights of cold in the forcast.
It's nice & warm in the hospital--I have to change into a gown each day prior to treatment.
The radiation technicians assured me the Varian machine has numerous safety features built into it & should any type of malfunction occur it will shut down. They push buttons releasing the radiation when things are lined up. The three gold markers in the prostrate help them in guiding the beam to the target.
So far I'm pleased with the radiation treatment approach. The waiting room is filled with people every day, it's unbelievable all the people afflicted with various types of Cancer. Have a GREAT DAY & again "THANKS" for the posts.
Another update--Had 11th treatment today (2/11/11) All is well -no issues. Other Info> Had the opportunity to converse with another patient in the waiting room prior to treatment. He had his prostrate removed several years ago & now his cancer came back. He told me some cancer cells were left behind in the area where the prostrate was & they were simmering like a burning amber which is why his PSA shot up again. Now he is on Eligard & claims it is under control. Ironically he has the same urologist I currently have.
Just passing along info I obtained giving insight into other problems people are facing.
Bless everyone

Rad Hopeful

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Today is Feb 15,2011 & I had my 13th treatment this morning.
Update >For those following my treatments> No serious side affects other than urgency to urinate.

Bless everyone

Rad Hopeful

Kongo's picture
Kongo
Posts: 1167
Joined: Mar 2010

Keep those good reports coming! You might give Advil a try for the urgency. I suspect it's caused by the inflammation around the urethra from the radiation. The Advil can reduce the inflammation and mitigate the symptoms in mild cases. It worked for me the short time I had the same symptoms.

VascodaGama's picture
VascodaGama
Posts: 1519
Joined: Nov 2010

RadHope
I am glad to know that all is going as you expected.
A good book to help you in understanding many facts about the prostate cancer is The Primer. You can buy used copies on Amazon online. The latest edition is very informative and descriptive on radiation and hormonal side effects.

Hope you get a copy.
Regards
VGama

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello Kongo & VGama

Thank both of you for the advice & replies, I appreciate it.
Sorry if I don't respond in a timely manner, My father in law passed (heart issues) & things are very hectic. He was a good man & will be missed very much. It's always difficult when you lose a family member.

I had my 16th radiation treatment this morning & so far all is "OK".
The hospital informed me they aren't going to draw blood until next Tuesday, thus I have to wait & see where the CBC & Psa are until then.

Rad Hopeful

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Fo those following my radiation venture> received my blood test results this morning February 25,2011.

I will show the statistics below & request replies regarding said readings
Is the percentage drop from the drug or is the radiation doing its job?

January 12th,2011 > Had three gold markers placed in prostrate
January 28th 2011> Had First Radiation Treatment Today Feb 25th was my 21st wide beam rad treatment--4 more wide beam than I will receive 19 cone shaped beams on the prostrate only.

Original PSA was 53.99
After Firmagon shot--December PSA reading was 17.87
January reading was > 4.18
February reading now> 2.64
As you can see there is a gradual decline (percentage works out to 66% Drop (53.99 to 17)--(76% Drop 17 to 4.18) & now (36% Drop 4.18 to 2.64 ng/ml)
I'm somewhat HAPPY that the PSA is going down but was hoping for more. Am I being realistic in my wishes?
I have my next hormone shot on Monday Feb.28,2011.

I will keep posting as progress is made & I venture into the next phase of my radiation treatments. (Thank God --so far no serious side affects)
Looking forward to individual analysis of results from my many friends posting on this site
Bless everyone
Rad Hopeful

VascodaGama's picture
VascodaGama
Posts: 1519
Joined: Nov 2010

RadHope

I think your treatment is advancing very well in regards to side effects and “attack” on the cancer. The decrease of the PSA is reflected in the fewer number of prostatic cells “alive” in your body. Firmagon has proved to be effective in two points; (1) lowering the testosterone as consequences in the drop of PSA (53.99 to 4.18), before RT (killing some cancer on the process); (2) continuing its job in the killing which can be the reason for still a lower PSA since the start of radiation. RT has not yet “attacked” the bulk of the cancer at the prostate. You can expect a bigger drop once the cone-shaped beams start.

I do not know your scheduled dosage, but in this wide beam at 180 centigrey per section it will be accomplished (25 x 180 cGy) 45Gy, with additional 19 x 200 cGy ? = 38Gy for probably a total of 83Gy.
I would like to suggest you of taking a Testosterone test with your PSA next time. It will help you understand the effects of the Firmagon. Could you also post other lipids levels tested during radiation?

Hope for a continuous successful treatment.
VGama

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

VGama
Thanks for he reply, I knew I could count on someone answering my question.

Here are some of the results of My CBC(Complete Blood Count)
WBC>5.79 Thousand/ul
RBC>4.16Million/ul
Hemoglobin>13.0 g/dl
Hemocrit>37.9%
Platelet count>262Thousand/ul
Lymphocytes>33%

HOW DO THESE READINGS LOOK---- after 21 treatments?
There are a few others I don't know what they meam but all are within the normal range
I'm keeping a watch on the white & red blood counts as they appear to be on the lower end of the reference range but still within acceptance.
Hope this helps with your request/analysis
Look forward to obtaining successful treatment once concentrated radiation on the prostrate starts
Bless you & all posting on this site.
Rad Hopeful

Kongo's picture
Kongo
Posts: 1167
Joined: Mar 2010

Hi, Hopeful.

I'm glad you're progressing through your treatments without too many speed bumps. Frankly, I don't understand the thought process behind monitoring your PSA while still in the radiation process. I do understand the logic of doing a blood panel (although I don't know if that's standard for IMRT) and monitoring your white blood cell count which I suppose could be affected by radiation treatment.

During the radiation process, the prostate is going to be inflamed from the radiation. That's the source of the temporary urinary urgency issues some men experience. But the inflammation also causes PSA to elevate in the short term just like a prostate massage or a misadjusted bicycle seat. The fact that your PSA has dropped so far so fast even considering that the prostate is inflammed is a very good sign in my opinion.

My radiologist told me that the faster the drop the less likely that there will be a PSA "bounce" downstream and the higher the probability that the treatment will be successful.

I hoping that you're very happy with these numbers.

K

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello Kongo

Thank you for the encouraging reply.
I also wondered about the PSA being monitored while I'm doing radiation & questioned my radiation oncologist. She didn't think much of the PSA test either. She is more concerned with what the nadir will be once done with treatments.

The urologist is the one giving the monthly shots & giving scripts for the PSA testing, They are in different Health Networks--the rad oncologist is in the hospital & the urologist has a private practice. I had all the blood work & psa done at one center so I didn't have to get stuck twice. The insurance will not pay for the PSA at the hospital.

When I go for my stomach shot(4th) on Monday I'm going to question this.
Thanks again for the reply & I love the comment that the probability of success is high.
Bless you & everyone on this board

Rad Hopeful

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello Kongo

Thank you for the encouraging reply.
I also wondered about the PSA being monitored while I'm doing radiation & questioned my radiation oncologist. She didn't think much of the PSA test either. She is more concerned with what the nadir will be once done with treatments.

The urologist is the one giving the monthly shots & giving scripts for the PSA testing, They are in different Health Networks--the rad oncologist is in the hospital & the urologist has a private practice. I had all the blood work & psa done at one center so I didn't have to get stuck twice. The insurance will not pay for the PSA at the hospital.

When I go for my stomach shot(4th) on Monday I'm going to question this.

(Questioned (Physician Assistant)urologist on Monday about the hormone therapy during rad treatments & was told only after I'm done with the radiation treatments will we see the final PSA results & that he expects them to be much lower.)
Thanks again for the reply & I love the comment that the probability of success is high.
Bless you & everyone on this board

Rad Hopeful

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Anyone following this radiation venture> Today I finished my 25 broad beam radiation treatments, Tomorrow I was told will be a picture taking only -NO TREATMENT- The doctor etc, wants to review everything before starting the cone shaped protocol focusing on the prostrate only (19 treatments)
The first 25 treatments weren't bad, I was able to do my normal work including plowing & shoveling snow. Hope the next 19 starting Monday the 7th go as well & the end result we were looking for is achieved.
Thanks to all that responded to my past questions -I appreciate it.
Blessings to everyone

Cordially
Rad Hopeful

VascodaGama's picture
VascodaGama
Posts: 1519
Joined: Nov 2010

RadHope
This is a good break to let you breath. Hopefully the next step is as good as this first.
What about symptoms? Is there anything apparent? And
How are you copping with the side effects from Firmagon?

I wish you a continuous positive progress.
VGama

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello VGama

To answer your questions>

Symptons --None that prevented me from doing my normal daily routine, the only issue I encountered is the urgency to urinate & I don't know if it's from the Firmagon or not. The Firmagon has the same notice about urgency & seems to give me more problems than anything I received during the radiation.
I have a large lump on my stomach where they injected me with the Firmagon on Monday. I believe it stores the drug & releases it during the course of a month before I need another shot. a mild side affect of the Firmagon is an occassional hot flash (easily tolerated) Of course the PSA is also being checked monthly so when I get a CBC(complete blood count) script from the hospital, I also take the urologist script along & have them both tested at a independant lab thus only having to get stuck one time.
So far I'm pleased with the radiation aspect of treatment & truly believe the 25 wide beam treatments got any cells that may have--- notice I said may have ventured outside the prostrate. AS you know cancer cells aren't as tolerant as the normal cells & die easily while the good cells recover from any treatment. This 3 day break will give the good cells a opportunity to repair themselves beyond the normal two day weekend break. Now the next 19 will focus on the prostrate itself. I pray all the cancer was in the prostrate & now any left over will be destroyed-period.
Bless all & thanks again for the positive wish, I appreciate it.
I'll keep posting as I venture into the next phase.
Rad Hopeful

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

All> Today was the first of 19 what they term Cone Down treatments. I was told the radiation will not encompass as large an area as the first 25 treatments. I'm glad I have the opportunity to see the radiation oncologist once every week to discuss the procedure & ask questions. I was given a prescription for Flow Max in the event I would need it. I told the doctor, I wouldn't use it unless I encountered a problem with voiding of urination which I haven't so far. Despite not having a full forceful stream, I can still void. I don't like taking more medication than I have to.
Bless everyone & again I'll update as I venture into this area of treatment.

Cordially
Rad Hopeful

RADIATION HOPEFUL
Posts: 206
Joined: Dec 2010

Question> has anyone had experience with taking the Flowmax capsules? Now that I have focused radition treatment to the prostrate, I'm having some difficulty urinating & voiding fully. Got a prescription for the Flowmax but after reading the potential side affects it is scary.
Looking forward to replies of personal experiences

Thank to all & bless everyone

Rad Hopeful

Kongo's picture
Kongo
Posts: 1167
Joined: Mar 2010

Hopeful,

Radiation frequently causes some inflammation of the prostate. Although the uretha is pretty tough, it too can sometimes become inflamed. These short term side effects are frequently treated with Flomax but before you go that route, you may wish to try Advil instead. Advil is designed to reduce inflamation and swelling and in many cases it may be all you need. It can't hurt.

When I finished my radiation treatment I was due to start a few weeks of traveling so my doctor gave me a Flomax prescription "just in case." Although I got the pills I never took them as I only really felt the urgency you describe on one day after my final treatment. The Advil worked like a champ.

In any event, these symptoms are not uncommon and typically pass within a few days or weeks after ending treatment.

Good luck.

K

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