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macguy's picture
Posts: 18
Joined: Nov 2009

Thanks for all participating on this site. I have received a great deal of information by reading your messages.
I am trying to get a handle on what my costs would be for radiation and/or cryosurgery with Medicare. The fastest way to move a doctor out of an examination room is by asking costs. So far the radiation ballpark is $80,000 to $100,000 and cryosurgry is $20,000 to $30,000.
The results of my bone scan and CT scan were negative. The cancer appears confined to both lobes of the prostate. Doctor suggested radiation therapy, said that at my age (74) surgery is not an option. The radiation takes about 5 minutes a day 5 days a week for 6 or 7 weeks. He said I won't feel anything and they will check my psa 3 months after the treatment stops. I was considering the radiation seeds but found out that a Gleason scores of 7 & 8 rule that out. Cryosurgery is still an option.
Stage is T1c
PSA July 06....4.16
PSA Nov. 07...4.08
PSA Nov. 08...6.18
PSA July 09...6.89
Prostate volume 52cc
Out of 12 biopsy cores 3 had cancer
1 was 10%, 1 was 20% 1 was 40%.
Bone Scan: neg
CT Scan : neg
3 month shot of Lupron 11/25/09 to reduce the size of prostate

Posts: 214
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi my name is Nick and im 52 had davinci on sept 3rd of this year with higher numbers than yours. I am just wondering and mean no offense but at your age your numbers dont seem that bad and maybe doing nothing is an option for you to consider.

I know this doesnt help any but why not ask your doctor about this...


Posts: 9
Joined: Nov 2009

I agonized over this particular decision and I'm only 64. My thoughts were that the cancer is slow growing anyway and according to the nomograms, at my age the average time that a man would live if he did nothing would be 7 years. Now if mine were particularly slow growing and I could do something to slow it down, maybe I've got 10 or 15 years left. But, then again, maybe not.

The one point that I disagree with Nick is when he says's " do nothing" . What I have read is that the cancer is fed by fat. If you can slow the cancer down then even more time is gained. Who knows what a major diet change would do for you. If I were your age I think this would be my decision. I think the older you are when you have to do something is an indicator that your cancer is slower growing than someone else with the same numbers much younger.

I wish you much good luck as this decision (whatever it's been) has not been easy for any of us.


Posts: 111
Joined: May 2009

I'd be doing more research and talking with my doctor (or, better yet, another one). At your age (I'm 68) those numbers "may" indicate "watchful waiting" might be the most appropriate route to take. Radiation sounds easy because it's non-invasive but it can have some significant lifestyle side effects. You haven't mentioned if symptoms led to discovery or if it was part of a routine checkup. If you had no symptoms (I didn't) it's even more important to get a second opinion - cancer is often a VERY slow growing critter.

macguy's picture
Posts: 18
Joined: Nov 2009

Doctor said my two sevens (3+4) were closer to an 8 plus my 4+4 put me near three eights and although immediate action was not necessary but I should not delay action. I noted that Sonny had numbers close to mine and he started with Henry Ford Hospital's Da Vinci program and unfortunately is now on his way to kemo so one never knows. We can only play the cards dealt I hope my future outlook will be as positive as his.

lewvino's picture
Posts: 1010
Joined: May 2009

Sonny is not on his way to Chemo, he is starting radiation therapy on Monday. He is very positive about starting his treatments.

I agree with you that you should not wait with a Gleason 7 (mine was 3+4 7 post pathology report). How did you come up with the cost of Radiation?
I had Davinci Surgery in August. I had looked at Proton beam treatments and they were up there in cost but my insurance would not cover that treatment. Though they would cover traditional forms of radiation.

Your doctor is probably correct on surgery and your age. I do know one man local that had his Davinci surgery about 1 month before me. He was 72 with Gleason 6. We had the same Surgeon and I think the only reason the Doc did the surgery was the man was in excellent health and a lower Gleason.

Good luck to you on starting your treatments.
I'm 55.

macguy's picture
Posts: 18
Joined: Nov 2009

After I sent the message I realized my error and did not know how to correct it. That's the last thing Sonny needs to read.

I phoned the billing office for the cost of radiation therapy (IMRT). The girl in the department gave me those estimates but now I need to visit the office and hopefully talk with another person as well as the doctor. The clinic is 3 miles from home in Clarkston, MI and has the latest equipment. Hopefully they will have better numbers next week. If not Henry Ford Hospital will be the next stop.

My health other than the obvious is very good. 6'1", 200 lbs. with my blood pressure controlled with medication.

Thanks for your comments.

hopeful and opt...
Posts: 2335
Joined: Apr 2009

first, I suggest that you get a second opinion on the parafin blocks taken in your biopsy so that you are not under or over treated.........Actually analyzing the biopsy is pretty complecated so you want an expert to give the second opinion. There are only a few in the country who are qualified,,,,,one is Dr./ Epstein of Johns Hopkins.

Also take time to explore all options..........I don't know why your doctor excluded surgery as an option....do you have other health issues?

Suggest that you attend local support groups. by the way, where do you live?


shubbysr's picture
Posts: 87
Joined: Jun 2009


My doctor at John Hopkins said if I was 74 years old , he would say bye-bye. In other words , he feels that the aging process would kill you before the prostate cancer. It appears that your general health is good.
I think a 2nd opinion is a good choice. Perhaps that is what Henry Ford will give you.

Good luck


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