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How do we know we are cured?

wonderstar
Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2012

I am 54 years old now.
When I first diagnosed with Prostate cancer was Feb, 2010,
I am non smoker and non drinker and avid hiker and say to myself how can this be ...

I had gleason score of 8.5 and told me I am in cancer stage 3.5 with PSA of 143.
After I was diagnosed, I am on Casodex 50mg and Zoladex 10.8mg starting Feb, 2010.
I had switch the doctor in Sep, 2010 and he prefer to use Elligard 45mg which is 6 month shot where as Zoladex is 3 months shot.
Since my PSA is very high and cancer stage 3.5, removing a prostate is not an optional.
So I went through radiation therapy using Varian starting Oct, 2010 to Dec, 2010, 44 sessions.
The radiation therapy was not painful. After the radiation therapy,
I had rectal bleeding and treated and 3 months later had Kidney stone which I saw blood in urine and stone passed through urine.
Last month, January of this year, I had a gallstone so the gallbladder has been removed.
I am slowly recovering from surgery.
Meanwhile, I am still on Casodex 50mg. Doctor told me I have one more shot of Elligard 45mg.

I had bone scan on March, 2011 and shows no metastasis on bone.

I am tire of taking medicine and the side effects causing all kinds problems as I mentioned above, forgot to mention constant hot flashes.

Now, the question is what test do I needed to tell I am cured ?

As I write this, I am not sure people who has cured really cared about this site.

I try this help anyway. I am sure some of you might be in same boat as I am.

You feedback will be appreciated.

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

Wonder,

I think you've posed an excellent question. I wish I knew the answer. In my own mind I'm not sure any longer that there is such a things as a "cure" for a metastatic disease such as prostate cancer. Perhaps if it is detected and treated in its very early stages a "cure" is possible but the histology of prostate cancer is about 56 years! That means that by the time it is finally detected (for most of us that's in our 50s or 60s) it has likely been there for twenty years or more.

Fortunately for most of us, prostate cancer is a very slow growing cancer, unlike its more virulent cousins such as pancreatic cancer. While 1 in 6 men in the USA will eventually be diagnosed with prostate cancer, only about 1 in 32 actually die from the disease and that rate is slowly dropping. In other words, when we have a cancer diagnosis the odds are overwhelming that something besides prostate cancer is going to kill us.

I think the effect of most treatment is that it kicks the can down the road long enough so that something else gets us. Some might consider that a "cure." Technically, I think the cancer is still churning away someplace, maybe at the microscopic level, but it really doesn't matter since it doesn't kill us.

Most men who have prostate cancer die of heart disease. I think we would all be better off if we spent more time living a healthy, heart-friendly lifestyle than worrying too much about whether or not we've been "cured."

But it is an excellent question. Please let me know if you figure it out.

K

wonderstar
Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2012

I thank you for your answer.
Your response really make me think in other direction.

After I learned about my symptom, wow I am going down fast. What am I going to do.
I am only 52 when I learned about it.
I have to do this and that and how am I going to do all that.
After a while, I realized that it doesn't matter.

Just like you said it doesn't matter I am cured or not.
We are going to die from something else than prostate cancer.

After your words, I am not going to dwell on CURE and enjoy life now not later ...
Wishing for cure might be greed ...

Thank you

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

Wonder,

I like your attitude. Cure is a state of mind. Like the other have suggested, I think it is important to live each day as it comes and make the best of that single point in time. As Hunter noted, Carpe Diem! Seize the day because we're never going to get a chance to redo it. And as Vasco pointed out, using each day to help another learn about this disease and deal with it help makes the world just a little bit better place.

Best to you.

wonderstar
Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2012
VascodaGama's picture
VascodaGama
Posts: 1592
Joined: Nov 2010

Wonderstar

I like the way you set it.

Sometimes I think that I shouldn’t “click-on” this site and instead should use my time in other matters. My wife becomes upset if I seat the whole day researching and answering newbies.
Even the “bible” has been replaced by PCa books at my bedside table since beeing diagnosed at 50 y/o.

But the truth is that I gave up with my job in the intent of “....enjoying life now not later ...”

For me it has been hard living without the spirit of duty or compromise. Sometimes I see myself replacing some hobbies with these forums, looking for answers of a “cure” for the others. I do it not for joy but as a “payback” I owe to other comrades who have helped me in this boat.

52 years-olds with PCa is not rare or young as you think. Kongo describes it well in his comments of a long lasting living with the “bandit” that in some is dormant and do not border their daily life.

After diagnoses, some guys prefer to do nothing and live with it for the rest of their lives and some try to control its advance with treatments. The word “Cure” is very ambiguous once we have been diagnosed on the “positive” side.

You can read of 52 y/o cases in this site (starting at ages of 34);
http://www.yananow.org/exp_data.php?query=order+by+cast%28diag_age+as+signed%29,name&desc=Age+at+Diagnosis

I know of similar cases to that of yours (Gleason score of (3+5) 8, high PSA at dx of 143 and negative bone scan) where the patient managed to get “control” on the disease. The Eligard plus Casodex you are taking is typical and the radiation will knock down the bandit.
The important now is to wait and follow up with periodical tests (every 3-months) and pray that recurrence never comes.

The side effects will last while you are on the drugs, and you need them to keep the PSA low (less than 0.05 = remission). It is common of listening doctors referring to cure when a guy manages to keep this remission level during a period of 5 years.
The management of that can be done with the drugs in cycles (intermittently) on ON/OFF drugs periods.

Along the journey one may have to change their habits, diet and physical fitness, and as Kongo puts it; “...spent more time living a healthy, heart-friendly lifestyle than worrying too much about whether or not we've been "cured."

Wishing you well.
Welcome to the board.

VGama

Cherokee6
Posts: 32
Joined: Oct 2011

VascodaGama,
Please extend thanks from all of us on this site to your wife. We who continue to visit on a regular basis knowing that we are always going to benifit from your knowledge and dedication are pleased that you have devoted such time to this forum. I might also take this time to thank Kongo who also devotes much time providing information to new comers. You are truly providing a service to all who visit. Since joining this site i have learned so much which has put me in control of making future decissions as thy might come down the pike.

Don't give up your desire to enjoy life now but thanks for letting us share whatever time that might be left over. It has helped me a lot. Your post have become the online prostate bible for many.

Cherokee6

hunter49
Posts: 204
Joined: Oct 2011

I believe there is no such thing as a cure. Just managing it. I am 49 and was diagnosed in September 2011. It did take me by surprise and I did ask the question how did I get this. I am in good shape, eat well and excercise. Answer is genetics. My gleason is a 4+3 and my surgery indicated organ confined which is great. However, every night I go to sleep wondering if some of those little bastards escaped and are mounting an assault later in my life. I realize I will just deal with it as it comes up and worry about my PSA test every 3 months the night before. I do eat better, as Kongo says heart healthy. Lot of veggies, Thai and Indian food along with red wine. Till then Carpi Diem (think that is how it is spelled, I was a math major. Good luck in your journey and look to this sight. I consider myself cured but check in daily.

wonderstar
Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2012

Wow, I am really glad that I found this site.
The words you folks gave me are priceless.
Thank you all.

hopeful and opt...
Posts: 1357
Joined: Apr 2009

translates to a better quality of life. I take advantage of, and make positive moments. My life has a lot more of them now, than pre PC. As others here, I also volunteer, help others at this site, help and support others that I meet at local support groups, and wherever as occassions arise. Additonally, I've been active in fund raising at the local relay for life which supports the american cancer society. I also volunteer at different venues. I feel that I get back more than I give.

Indian food is where it's at. Today I am meeting some other men at an excellent restaurant located in a large Indian community , in Artesia (So. Cal) near where I live. If any of you are in this area let me know........let's do lunch.

I'm heading off now for a hike at a nature center, then a ukulele class before lunch.

Enjoy the moments

Beau2
Posts: 245
Joined: Sep 2010

Ukulele wow! I did not know anyone gave lessons in the ukulele. Since Arthur Godfrey played on the TV, I've wanted to play the ukulele ... gotta find lessons in Denver. Thanks for the idea.

hopeful and opt...
Posts: 1357
Joined: Apr 2009

http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/directory/state.asp?ID=6

The above site will give you access to two player groups in Colorado, as well as 84 players in the state.....fleamarketmusic also provides a discussion site.

Anyway, it's not very hard to learn this instrument...I'm thinking that these people will get you started........there are 4 sizes of ukulele, soprano(which is too small for an adult, concert, one step up and tenor, even larger..........there is also a baritone which is strung like the first 4 strings in a guitar.....I suggest that you look into a concert or tenor depending on the size of your hands.

Feel free to contact me, for any information that you need

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