May 30, 2012 - 5:05 am
The following excerpt was posted on a website regarding a treatment plan involving Chemo I have not seen before. Is the Canadian healthcare system ahead or behind?
"The really bad news was that Grant was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer just before Christmas, after a sharp rise in PSA level and other indicators prompted a biopsy and other tests. Thus began several months of further testing, differing diagnoses and treatment recommendations, depending on which medical specialist we consulted with. Surgeons recommend surgery (cut it out!), radiologists recommend radiation (burn it out!), and chemical oncologists recommend chemotherapy (poison it!). Actually, because of the stage that Grant's cancer is at, the specialists all recommended 2 out of 3 - surgery and radiation OR radiation and hormones OR chemo and surgery! Look at where the prostate is located. It is in a very sensitive area, and all these treatments come with significant risks to QOL (Quality of Life) :-(
So, after a lot of anxious research and consultations, we were able to get him into a clinical trial in Vancouver. He was randomized into the group that gets 4 months of chemotherapy and hormone therapy followed by a prostatectomy. His surgery will be done by the best surgeon in Vancouver, one of the best in North America, so we're very encouraged, as the skill of the surgeon is key to reducing the risks to QOL...
He started the chemo in late March. Fatigue is the most significant side effect. He's on a 3-week cycle, and for 2 of every 3 weeks he has to stay away from other people because he's very susceptible to infection, and he's only able to work a few hours a day. Then the week before his next cycle he's got more energy and can work a normal day (that's a 7-8 hour day, not his usual 10-12 hours). He's had other side effects, including loss of beard and most of his hair, but he's tolerating them okay, and his PSA has dropped every cycle, so the poison is working! After a short time to recover from the chemo, he's scheduled for surgery at the end of August, and we're hoping he'll be recovered enough to travel to California in October."