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Boyfriend newly diagnosed

Deba194
Posts: 9
Joined: Apr 2011

My boyfriend was just diagnosed with PC and he doesn't want to do anything right now. His gleason scale was 7 and pti 2 I think that's what he said. Found cancer in 10%of two areas of 18 samples taken. His Doctor wanted him to go for bone scan to rule out that it has spread outside of prostate. He has refused and will try to go a holisitc approach. People say that eating asparagus and strawberries will keep it from spreading. Has anyone been on anything like what he is doing. I'm afraid that if it doesn't work what will happen. If you have any info on this please let me no.

hopeful and opt...
Posts: 1353
Joined: Apr 2009

Deba

It would be helpful if you gave some more information

How old is your boyfriend?

Are you talking about a psa when you say 2? How has his numbers been during the last few years?

When you say his gleason is 7; it could be a 3+4=7 or a 4+3=7, it's improtant to know which one. please let us know.

Fortunately there appears to be a low amount of the cancer in the prostate, however more tests are appropriate to determine if this is true

There is a treatment option called Active Surveillance which may or may not be appropriate for your boyfriend....since his gleason is at a 7, unless he is older, this would be, in my opinion inapprpriate. This treatment requires very close monitoring.

In my opinion refusing professional treatment and seeking out holistic doctors is a very poor choice and is very likely to cause very dire consequences.

Generally heart healthy is prostate healthy.one is more likely to die from heart disease than prostate cancer, so it is imnportant to eat heart healthy.........however, the person who told you that eating strawberries and asparagus will stop the cancer from spreading is misinformed, and frankly out of their mind.....actually there are various studies that have been done about various foods, and for the most part none have been that conclusive; there are a few that we try to eat like green tea, pomogranate juice under investigation, tomato sauce and tomatoes, etc....but I am not betting my life on this...it is a very long shot.

Very, very important that your boyfriend gets a second opinion on the biopsy slides by an expert in the field.....there are only a few...bostwich is one.

Bone scan..although many docs prescribe a bone scan when men are diagnosed, the american urological society recommends a bone scan for only those with a gleason of 8 and above.

There are other measurement tests that are more appropriate.

It is very important to develop knowledge to determine a treatment option...this is a good site...buy you need to read, read, and read.

Deba194
Posts: 9
Joined: Apr 2011

Thanks for info. I guess that we need to see biopsy report to see how they came up with gleason score. My boyfriend is 61 and he thinking of doing the wait and see approach. Have blood redrawn in three months. The Doc was really upset and since he wasn't getting bone scan and ct scan, the Doc told him he wasn't going to do anything for him. The Doc said " Good Luck" and hung the phone up. His PSA was 6 and PTI was 2 whatever that is.

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

Deba,

While your boyfriend's initial approach to treating this through unconventional means may have put the doctor off, his reaction seems out of touch and unprofessional. Time to say goodbye to this guy and find someone who understands patient priorities.

As others have pointed out a bone scan and CT at this stage are generally not recommended by the policies of the American Urological Association as evidence of metasasis almost are never present or detectable at this early stage and only result in an increase to the doctor's fee schedule. Most men go along with these recommendations because they're in shock at their diagnosis and haven't learned enough to question the doctor.

The Gleason score of 7 that you mentioned in your initial post is not appropriate for a "wait and see" approach, also known as "watchful waiting" or "active surveillance." This protocol is only recommended for men with a Gleasn 6 or lower at initial diagnosis.

While a holistic approach in concert with a more conventional medical protocol can be a good thing, doing it "on your own" is just foolish at this point. Your boyfriend needs some second opinions, he needs to do some research, and he needs to become educated on the things that cause cancer and what the effects of treatment can be. In fact, when you first mentioned asparagus and strawberries as a prostate cancer treatment I initially suspected your post was some sort of spoof.

You also need to get copies of your records so that you can have meaningful discussions with other doctors when you seek second opinions. In the context of prostate cancer, the PTI may mean "Percent Tumor Involvement" which a reading of 2 would mean 2%. That means a very, very small percentage of the core sample showed evidence of adenocarcinoma. The Gleason 7, on the other hand, is either a 3+4 or a 4+3, the latter being much more worrisome than the former. Gleason scores are a pathologist's subjective rating of the the level of differentiation of the cancer cells. A 4+3 means that most of the cancer cells are at a level 4 (on a 5-point scale) while the second most common cancer is at a level 3. The higher the number the more dangerous the cancer. Knowing exactly what you have is critical to understanding your diagnosis and what types of treatment are appropriate.

Drawing blood in three months is not going to chage the cancer diagnosis although it will give you another data point for PSA (prostate specific antigen).

Do you know what the PSA reading was that promted your boyfriend to get a biopsy?

While it's too early to definitely decide on a treatment (either holistic or conventional), it's not too early to get educated and gather a second opinion. I hope your friend follows pursues this course while he makes up his mind about what to do.

Get yourself a good doctor. If you post your location, there very well may be someone who reads this board that can suggest someone.

Good luck to you both.

K

hopeful and opt...
Posts: 1353
Joined: Apr 2009

Kongo is giving you good information about wait and see,

"The Gleason score of 7 that you mentioned in your initial post is not appropriate for a "wait and see" approach, also known as "watchful waiting" or "active surveillance." This protocol is only recommended for men with a Gleasn 6 or lower at initial diagnosis"

to add, a higher score of 3+4=7 puts your boyfriend in an intermediate risk group...generally someone who has less than 10 years to live can be considered for active surbveilance...your boyfriend is too young to follow this option....I am 68 on active surveillance , and my doc told me before my last biopsy that if I get a geason 7,I would have to seek active treatment (my gleason is 3+3=6)

ONce again your boyfriend needs to send his biopsy slides for a second opinion so he is not under or over treated.

Deba194
Posts: 9
Joined: Apr 2011

I really appreciate your input. My BF PSA was 3.2 at first then three months later it was a 6. Doctor thought he might have an infection,put him on antibotics for ten days. Tested PSA still 6, waited three more months still was 6. I quess maybe right now we are just trying to find more info. Will get copies of records and find another opinion. When the biopsy results came back the Doctor never called to have us come in for consult. He had his nurse call and tell him that he had cancer and needed to have bone scan and Ct done and come back in. I think the Doctor should of had us come in and explain biopsy results and why he wanted all the other test. All we no is that they found ten percent in two biopsy sites.

hopeful and opt...
Posts: 1353
Joined: Apr 2009

you can contact your GP for a copy of the tests....this is important for a trend.....to see if the psa is rising and at what rate....there are nomograms that will analyze the information that you get, so you will have a more refined idea of where you stand.

Deba194
Posts: 9
Joined: Apr 2011

How can you get a copy of biopsy report. I don't think the Doctor will give it to him since he want treat him now.

hopeful and opt...
Posts: 1353
Joined: Apr 2009

Either you or your insurance company paid for this information, so it's yours.....I believe that it is the law....you need to have a copy of all your records, when you go from one doc to another...this is standard....

I do it all the time now..no matter what type of doc I see...that includes test results, doc notes...everything.

I had my biopsies done at different hospitals, and they are stored with each one....you can have another institution get the slides from whoever, so a pathologist can view them, and then they return the slides to the source or wherever you want them.

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

He has time to consider the many options for treatment or not. You need a lot more information than you have given here to make that decision and getting a second opinion would be time well spent. The bone scan is not necessary and there is almost no chance it would find any tumors. I had a gleason 9 with psa of 24 and the bone scan after diagnosis showed nothing. Today I have tumors throughout my body. The diet thing is important but the idea that asparagus and berries keep cancer from spreading is just nonsense. Age is important too. How old is he? Stay positive and keep the stress level down as you find a solution to this. I wish you all the best.

Deba194
Posts: 9
Joined: Apr 2011

Thanks for info. My BF is 61 and he thinks he will do the wait and see approach.

kddh
Posts: 14
Joined: Nov 2010

Hello Deba:
The other folks who have responded to you are focussed on your bf's medical condition and treatment choices, which is mostly what gets discussed here. Their comments are all right on, as far as I know.

What you're doing on his behalf is really great.
Of course I don't know your bf. But what struck me is that he sounds like he's in a troubled state of mind, and that may be affecting his decisions.

If he's wanting to deny the diagnosis, feels fed up with the medical world, or anything like that, then he'd find it hard to deal with all the facts you are gathering.

He might benefit most from a) a more sympathetic doctor b) some kind of contact with other folks who have dealt with prostate cancer. And maybe just needs a little time to accept the facts (which we''d all prefer were not true)

Good luck!

Deba194
Posts: 9
Joined: Apr 2011

Thank you, I think you might be right about denying diagnosis. I think right now he is angry. Last night we got into an argument over all this. He thinks that I am making matters worse when I go online and try to get info. People keep telling him that if he keeps eating strawberries and asparagus that it will stop the Ca from spreading. So I'm just gonna try and not show him anything anymore. Let him decide what he wants done. I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. He can go online and do his own research. I really don't no what to do. He says he the one with Ca and he will make up his own mind what he wants to do. This affects everyone around him and I just don't no what to do now, other than keep my mouth shut. I've had to deal with my Mother having breast cancer. Three years so far no more cancer and I hate to think if she had waited for treatment. I see that he saw what my Mom went through and doesn't want to maybe go through some of the things she had too. Is all prostate cancer slow moving and take years to progress until it is bad. If I knew the answers and maybe then I wouldn't worry so much.

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Kongo
Posts: 1167
Joined: Mar 2010

Deba,

Many men ride an emotional rollercoaster after their diagnosis. Anger, denial, mourning lost health, fear of the unknown, and a realization of their own mortality are all normal reactions.

You can't do this for him but I am sure that your support will benefit him in the days ahead even if it is difficult for him to admit that now.

He has to take responsibility for his own disease. You can't do that for him. Fortunately, most prosate cancer is very slow growing and he can most likely look forward to many years of life in front of him. Most men die with prostate cancer not from it.

Frankly, I'm at a loss to understand why he would listen to someone touting asparagus and strawberries over sound medical advice but that may be another symptom of denial.

I think the only thing you can do at this point is to go buy a bushel basket of asparagus and some strawberry shortcake bread and hope for the best. Good luck to you both.

K

hopeful and opt...
Posts: 1353
Joined: Apr 2009

By waiting without supervision, your boyfriend can miss an oportunity for a treatment choice....for example if the cancer leaves the protate, which is very possible in your boyfriends case....surgery will not be appropriate.....

Additionally, if he continues, he could die from this.....in some cases a poor death.

Of course he has the right to refuse treatment .....it is his decision....and, in my opinion he is a fool.

In my own case, my elderly Mother has breast cancer...she is seeing an onchologist...she is not comfortable with some of the treatments, so she is talking about firing him on Thursday....I'[mpretty sure that I would do different in her place, however it's her choice....and, I feel bad about this....not much that I could say to her, since she would only get angry and do what she wants to do, anyway.

Deba194
Posts: 9
Joined: Apr 2011

Well to let you know , after 3 months of taking Stawberries , i went back for new PSA. Guess what it had dropped from 6.4 to 4 , now be carefull who you call a fool, its not nice & i'm sure you are not a dr. so........also why don't you Search Strawberries & Prostate Cancer on the Internet , you may be surprised who the FOOL really is. The Boyfriend!

hopeful and opt...
Posts: 1353
Joined: Apr 2009

"His gleason scale was 7 and pti 2 I think that's what he said. Found cancer in 10%of two areas of 18 samples"

PSA is an indicator however the biopsy is the key , and a gleason of 7 is an intermediate aggressive cancer, and needs to be treated..especially if you are a man of 61 who has many years of potential life, since the cancer is very likely to leave the prostate and metasisize.

Nothing wrong with strawberries.....I do believe in heart healthy eating, since this is good for the heart and prostate cancer.

P.S. My apologies for offending you with the use of the word "fool". I could have expressed myself in a better way. At the time, I was thinking of another poster who refused expert medical attention for this disease, relied on holistic approach only, instead of being treated by an oncologist, and now his cancer has metastasised. I only want the best for you. I willing to say that I am a fool one hundred times and eat 10 plates of strawberries. I hope that you will be compliant with competent medical attention, which you require.

My prayers are with you

BOBfromNJ
Posts: 32
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi deba,

First let me commend you on wanting to help your bf and to help him in making a decision that will ultimately effect the both of you. Most all the advise you are getting from this forum is good advice. All of us have been through this already and know pretty much what to expect. One previous comment about giving it a little time to sink in is good. We all went through very emotional feelings, like “way me” and what did I do to deserve this. Being supportive to your bf and his ultimate decision is going to go a very long way.

The other worthwhile advice is to definitely get a new doctor and also get a 2nd opinion on the biopsy slides. A pathologist is looking through a microscope and determining (with his eyes) as to what he sees. In my case the 2nd opinion was different then the first and it did make me change my decision because the first one was not accurate. By the way you do have the right and you should obtain all those records from his previous doctor.

Not knowing where you live would make it difficult to recommend a doctor but there are many great hospitals and caring doctors to help your bf. If you don’t have the confidence in your doctor then you will never know how to make the right decision.

Deba, one other thing you might do (which was recommended to me) and was a tremendous help is buy your bf a book called…”Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer” by Dr. Patrick Walsh’s. By the way there is no mention in the book about asparagus or strawberries.

Good luck and please keep us updated.
Bob

mrspjd
Posts: 693
Joined: Apr 2010

(Note: This post was originally made on April 6, 2011. It has been updated to include the Post Script in order to address info presented in recent subsequent postings.)

Deba,
From one woman to another, hello and welcome to the PCa discussion board. Sorry you find yourself in such a difficult situation. My husband, PJD, was diagnosed last February 2010 with intermediate–high risk PCa. His Gleason was 3+4=7 and it was determined he had locally advanced non-mets PCa. He recently finished a combination of primary treatments and results are showing that tx was successful so I consider myself the wife of a PCa survivor. We are cautiously optimistic, however, since PCa is such an insidious disease; so PJD continues to have his PSA, etc. tested and monitored regularly to determine that the cancer has not recurred.

As others have suggested, your BF may be stubborn, angry, depressed, fearful, in denial, or some combination of all those traits/emotions. Only time will tell if or when he can move past those emotions to obtain reliable medical advice. IMO, while you can be his support, nagging or trying to discuss info he’s not ready to hear will not make him do something that he either doesn’t want to do or doesn’t understand. But you can, however, set an example and do something for yourself.

PCa is a couples’ disease. It’s not contagious but, some of the possible PCa symptoms and/or treatment side effects (urinary issues, ED, incontinence, etc.) can have an impact on the relationship. The most important thing to consider is that if you’re in this committed partnership for the long haul, then there’s no reason why YOU can’t educate YOURSELF about PCa. I suggest that you find a face to face PCa support group in your community that welcomes wives and partners and GO without him. Buy and read the PCa books already recommended to you in previous posts.

One excellent & reputable PCa website to read and find resources is http://www.prostate-cancer.org/pcricms/node/34. Click on the resource links on the left-hand side to find recommendations for finding expert physicians, support groups, helpful online links, books on prostate cancer, a PCa glossary, etc.

As the saying goes, "you can lead a horse to water but, you can’t make him drink." After you’ve read the PCa books, perhaps you might happen to set those books next to a big bowl of strawberries and asparagus.

Best of luck to you both.

mrs pjd

PS to this post which was originally posted on April 6, 2011 @ 9:00pm: Forgot to mention that my husband's PSA was never above 2.8 and no rapid doubling. PSA is not the only indicator of PCa. In some men, a low PSA may mean an aggressive form of PCa, while a high PSA may not be cancer at all (BPH, prostatitus, infection, etc.). Each man's PCa is different, unique and has its own "signature." Second opinions from oncologists specializing in PCa are always recommended, especially when G7 is present.

Deba194
Posts: 9
Joined: Apr 2011

This is the boyfriend, & i thank you for your help. i wanted to let you know that i went with strawberries & asparagus & after 3 months went back to DR. The new PSA test had dropped from 6.4 to 4, which my Dr. says is borderline N/A. I would like you to search Strawberries & Prostrate Cancer on the internet & read what it says. I guess it might work seeing how i'm back to normal after only 3 months of Strawberry Smoothies 3 times a day for 3 mos. hagd The Boyfrined!

Deba194
Posts: 9
Joined: Apr 2011

after 3 months of eating Strawberries until i had em running out my ears , i went back to the DR. & retested . Guess what? My PSA Had dropped from 6.4 to 4. which my Dr. says is Borderline normal , i guess it does help to get a 2nd opinion, anyway imana keep on eating Strawberries , ( they taste a lot better than CHEMO, just try a search of Strawberries & Prostrate Cancer on the internet . agin ty for the good luck ,i guess it worked , The Boyfriend!

mrspjd
Posts: 693
Joined: Apr 2010

.

lewvino's picture
lewvino
Posts: 1007
Joined: May 2009

glad that your psa is somewhat lower....however please remember that they did find cancer in your biopsy.... Found cancer in 10%of two areas of 18 samples taken....

Just because your psa has dropped does not mean the cancer has gone away.

Please keep on top of your testing.

Lewvino

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

Message to Boyfriend: It didn't work!

BF seems to be confused, in my opinion, about many of the basic facts surrounding prostate cancer. PSA is not cancer. It’s a natural protein produced by the prostate to nourish sperm in its journey toward fertilization. An amorous night with the GF before a PSA test could easily cause the PSA to bounce within the ranges described, as well as a host of other conditions that include certain OTC drugs, exercise, prescription medications, prostatitis, a urinary infection, BPH, and so forth. Any or all of these are common in a man the age of BF.

The doctor’s comment that a PSA of 4 is “near normal” does not mean that BF no longer has cancer. In fact, that comment within the context of this thread makes me wonder what type of doctor this was. Was it a urologist or GP? An OBGYN or a Vet? The biopsy, which seems to be ignored in this discussion, is the definitive measure of prostate cancer and a Gleason 7 is not something to hope away with strawberry cures. AS mrspjd so aptly highlighted, many men with advanced cancer have below normal PSA scores and in fact, as prostate cancer cells become more developed in advanced stages, they act less and less like normal prostate cells and are unable to produce hardly any PSA. In other words, low PSA readings might very well be indicative of a more serious cancer condition and should never be considered “near normal” after a positive biopsy.

Strawberries, along with some other fruits, garlic, and kale act to inhibit chemical compounds known as nitrosamines which have been linked to several types of cancer through in vitro studies. Of all the fruits that inhibit nitrosamines, garlic was the one that was most effective. The consensus of opinion is that a diet that includes nitrosamine inhibitors might play a role in preventing or delaying the onset of prostate cancer. There are no studies that show that strawberries can reverse prostate cancer in an actual living cancer patient. While certain studies indicated apoptosis (cell death) in a test tube when PCa was exposed to nitrosamine inhibitors this in no way is any type of supporting evidence that strawberries (or garlic or kale) alone will cure prostate cancer. There are simply too many other complex chemical reactions going on within the body that come to bear to single out a single characteristic and claim victory.

Most of these studies were at least partially funded by (here's a newsflash) -- large food producers such as Dole and Del Monte. Hmmm. Now Deba's first post was in April...a month before National Stawberry Month (May)...a happy period where many large food producing companies roll out fact-filled articles through their corporate communications offices about all the benefits of their products.

BTW, we get nitrosamines from nitrates that are used in the food industry (the same group that sponsors National Strawberry Month) to package products in a manner that will ensure freshness for longer periods of time. Foods with “preservatives” on the label most likely contain nitrosamines. BF could likely achieve the same effect by just avoiding all packaged food.

As I recall, the story here is that GF was concerned about BF’s reaction to diagnosis which was a positive biopsy with a Gleason 7 and described a rather unpleasant confrontation with a doctor when BF didn’t like his advice. He then heard about strawberries and asparagus and started his regimen. From the information provided thus far it does not appear that BF has had a second opinion on the biopsy, or consulted with other urologists on possible treatment courses that might include something more than strawberry shakes.

As others who have traveled this road have suggested, self-treatment of prostate cancer is a dangerous, and dare I say FOOLISH, course of action particularly when the Gleason score is a 7. (I don’t think we know whether it was a 4+3 or a 3+4).

I personally believe that diet plays a critical role in overall prostate cancer treatment. We have had several fine discussions in this forum on the effects of overall diet, dairy, red meat, and so forth on prostate cancer, PSA scores, and related issues. But I also believe that once you have a biopsy result with a Gleason 7 then you need to balance your diet and other holistic approaches with approved medical expertise. There are a number of treatments which are appropriate for BF that could include surgery, some form of radiation, HT, and so forth. When these treatments are taken in conjunction with a well thought out and balanced diet (not just strawberries) that avoids diary and minimizes red meat, and with the approval of your medical team, I think that it can be a very powerful combination to fight the cancer.

Strawberries alone are not going to reverse prostate cancer, regardless of what the PSA score might indicate. While dithering for a few months mixing up all those strawberry shakes the cancer is still growing. Left untreated at this stage its growth and eventual metastasis is inexorable.

I sincerely hope BF finds himself a doctor (hopefully one who specializes in prostate cancer) who can clarify some of his misconceptions about the relationship between PSA and PCa, persuade him of the seriousness of his situation, and help him make an informed decision.

K

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