Dad just had surgery and I have questions.

kbf Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Prostate Cancer #1
My dad was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in November and opted for surgery because the preliminary tests (MRI, bone scan) showed that the cancer hadn't spread outside of the prostate. Last Wednesday (1/8) he had surgery. Before they removed the prostate they did biopsies on the lymph nodes and these came back negative. He is now home and seems to be recovering quickly. But I am left with a lot of questions... if anyone can share their knowledge I'd really appreciate it.

Basically, I'm wondering "what now"? What obstacles does he have to overcome before he can be considered a cancer survivor? If the cancer was confined to the prostate and it was removed, can he still have prostate cancer? If so, what are his options? If he is declared prostate cancer-free by the doctor, is he at a higher risk for other types of cancer? I just really don't know if I should be feeling relieved or not. I don't know what to expect now that surgery is over.

I appreciate your help. Thank you.


  • nutt
    nutt Member Posts: 140
    Glad to hear he took action and tests are negative.
    Regardless of the treatment, it is believed that "cancer free" is generally a 5 year, cancer free time span used by insurance carriers and the industry.

    There is no guarantee that in any of our cases that all of the cancer was removed or restricted to the prostrate when removed,radiated or etc..

    We all normally begin an accelerated scheduled psa testing on a regular basis which, is the "indicator" for any re-occuring elevation in psa levels or potential cancer growth. What this does is set a starting point and looks at the "rate" of increase in psa levels.

    Depending on many, many uncontrollables, age, health etc.,(your dad was I am sure advised of the potential side effects)which can linger for several months (body slowly heals)or may become part of daily life. You need to ask your dad and/or his phyician what these are depending on his physical health and what the surgeon determined as a result of the surgery. We ( I ) could only guess and possibly cause more worry and mis-information. Some of the side effects may be more of a personal nature (sexual ability, normal urination problems etc.) that parents normally don't share with their children etc.?

    The fact that it is believed to have been contained,was removed and with tests being negative all sounds positive.

    Glad to help further but believe you need to get the information directly from the persons most involved - as cancer survivors, we can and are glad to share the "rest of the story" or describe our experiences with various side effects (we all react to them differently)that can't be predicted but it does help to know someone else has or is having the same experience and what they have or are going to treat it.

    It is reassuring to know you are not the only one in the world experiencing it. That is I believe the prime reason for the ACN webpage and "sharing" in general.

    Let me know how he gets along and if I can be of help, let me know. It is almost as hard on family and loved ones as the patient. Hang in there.
    God bless.
  • Sailor1988
    Sailor1988 Member Posts: 23

    Joe has provided you a lot of good information and advice that should be of help to you and your dad. I'll second his comment above about your dad's early action and am also very happy to hear that his results were negative.

    As I read your posting I could have been reading my own recent biography because I was diagnosed with prostate cancer last August with the same initial readings.... negative bone scan, etc. and had my surgery on November 20th. The biopsy of my lymph nodes and of the prostate itself were negative and the cancer was confined entirely to the gland. Just yesterday I got the results of my first PSA test since the operation and it was good (less than 0.1). As Joe said, there is no way of knowing positively that none of the cancer has spread, but containment to the gland and subsequent negative PSA readings are a good sign that it hasn't spread. I know I was sitting on the edge of my chair until I heard the results yesterday and am now breathing a little easier. So I see his first PSA test as the next hurdle or worry point for your dad.

    The other quality of life issues are incontinence and impotence and I'm sure your dad considered each of these before making his decision. Everything I've read and the words of the three doctor's I've seen for advice, all tell me that we are all different in how we recuperate in these areas. Tomorrow is 8 weeks since my surgery and I am slowly improving in each area. With the encouragement of others on this board I am learning that I won't be entirely back to normal overnight and have to learn to be patient. Your dad may have to wear pads of some sort for a while, something that is a hard pill to swallow for some. It's taken me a while to get over the embarrassment of wearing them, but I still use Depends when I'm lifting or exercising or if I'll be away from home for an extended period. So, this is something your dad may have to face and hopefully will be patient as he recovers. My wife and closest friends have been very supportive and help me maintain my optimism, so keep that in mind as your dad recovers.

    As far as other cancers, I haven't heard or read anything that would indicate that we have any higher risk than anyone else, so I'm not letting that be a worry factor. Hopefully that won't be one for you or your dad either.

    We'll be thinking of you, your dad and family and hope for his speedy recovery. Your dad is a lucky man to have someone as caring as you to share the load, so try to ease your mind that the worst is over and continue with your support. Also, have him address his (and your) concerns to his doctor at his next visit.

  • Amit
    Amit Member Posts: 1
    Thought this might interest you.

    Recurrence of prostate cancer

    Treatment recommendations for post-prostatectomy recurrence
    Significance and definition of a rising PSA postradiation
    Treatment recommendations for recurrence postradiation
  • rogermoore
    rogermoore Member Posts: 264 Member

    It sounds very reassuring that the biopsies came back neg. I am told that is one of the primary ways to determine if the cancer has spread beyond the prostate. Since he no longer has a prostate, he cannot have reoccurring cancer of the prostate. However, other cancers can develop affecting other organs.

    I was told that once my prostate was removed, 3/29/01, that that was one type of cancer I would not have to worry about again. I'm sure the Dr. will monitor your Father's PSA for several years to be sure it does not begin to rise. If the PSA should rise, it might be an indication that the cancer had spread. However, since the lymph nodes have been determined to be unaffected I would think this to be very unlikely.

    All in all it sounds like your Father was very fortunate to have located the cancer in it's early stages and has taken the appropriate measures.

    Congratulations to your Dad!! If you or he should have any questions about post-surgery conditions please don't hesitate to e-mail me at the address on my home-page.

  • Popular59
    Popular59 Member Posts: 2
    I to recently had prostate surgery on 11/7/02, and at my post-op appointment, I was informed my lymp nodes were clear of any additional cancer. I think the most important aspect is to start focusing on your father's recovery and provide him with the love and support he will need.

    Cross the bridge involving the future when it gets here. Hopeful this will help to eliminate some aspects of your anxiety and avoid missing out on the fact your father is a surviver, and you still have him in your life.

    Remember there are no ganuartees and tomorrow is not promise to any one, continue to count your blessing. And most of all educate yourself about prostate cancer, because it is a family disease and it's important you pay strict attention to the diet.

    God Bless you and contniued success in your father's recovery. Good Luck.