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End stage prostate cancer?

Posts: 7
Joined: Sep 2012

Help! My friend (who is more like my father)has been diagnosed as Stage 4 prostate cancer. We are still waiting for the "official" staging from the biopsy and should get that on Tuesday. I guess pathologists don't work on the holiday weekend. Doyle is 81 years old and he called me Tuesday saying he thought he needed to go to the doctor. I have been asking him to go for the last few years and he just kept saying he was fine (he hasn't been to the doctor for the last 20 years!!!!)

He didn't pick up the phone on Wednesday morning so I had my in laws go check on him and they found him collapsed on the floor of our house. He is officially in renal failure as his kidneys have started shutting down. He went into the CCU with incredibly high creatanine levels, over 400 psa and potassium levels that were through the roof. They have inserted a super-pube catheter and two naphrostomy tubes to help relieve the pressure on his kidneys. There has been a little improvement but not much.

Since his admission to the CCU on Wednesday, they have discovered nodules all over his bones, his uretha completely blocked and his above mentioned kidney failure. Once we get his biopsy results, we will develop a plan but he has already said that he doesn't want any treatment. He just wants to be kept comfortable. On a side note, eight months ago he lost my mom to cancer and hasn't been the same since. He says he is ready to go to heaven to be with her. I just want to know what is the typical length of time some one has with this type of diagnosis. I love him and don't want to lose him to but I also don't want him to suffer needlessly. I just don't know enough about prostate cancer and the information online seems a little ambiguous to say the least. Anybody out there who is familiar with this kind of stage, etc?

lindan123's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: Aug 2012

Stage IV prostate cancer refers to cancer that has spread to distant locations in the body, which usually includes the bones. Stage IV disease may be further classified into two groups depending on the extent of the cancer (tumor).

Stage IV (D1) - The tumor has spread to pelvic lymph nodes or is obstructing the ureters (the tubes from the kidneys to the bladder) or both.
Stage IV (D2) - Cancer spread (metastasis) to lymph nodes outside the pelvic area, bone involvement, or spread to other distant parts of the body.
Prostate cancer diagnosed at stage IV is often difficult to cure, although some patients can live for several years with effective treatment.

VascodaGama's picture
Posts: 3354
Joined: Nov 2010


I am sorry for the suffering of your friend. There is no definite time frame in stage IV patients. Your friend can live many years if his body responds well to a treatment. In any case it seems to me that the kidney problem is bigger than the prostate cancer. He will need to check the urinary track and treat it probably with surgery and TURP.
Kidney failure was most probable due to retention of urine in the bladder (many days without voiding), and such happened for a stricture done by prostate cancer.
Stage IV PCa patients are usually treated with hormone or chemo therapy. Removing the prostate gland would not cure him and radiation will be spared for application in the spots that may cause him pain. Some guys do well and live many years with reasonable quality.

The biopsy results are merely to diagnose what his doctor has already told him. You need to get info regarding stability of kidneys.

I wish you peace of mind.


Kongo's picture
Posts: 1166
Joined: Mar 2010

Hawkeye fan,

I'm sorry to read of your friend's condition. As Vasco pointed out the renal functions are critical at this stage and prostate cancer could well have spread to the kidneys and other organs which are causing the serious symptoms he is now experiencing. As Vasco mentioned, there is not definite time frame for men with end stage prostate cancer but since your friend seems to have elected to forego any treatment the end is not going to be too far off.

Earlier this year my father-in-law died of congestive heart failure (he did not have prostate cancer) a little more than a year after his wife had passed. I always felt that after her death he had basically lost his primary desire to live and was more focused on moving on to be with her again than extending his stay in this realm. When he passed peacefully in his sleep I knew where he had gone. From what you've written, your friend seems to have the same outlook.

End stage prostate cancer can be a painful and awkward ending. I understand his desire to be comfortable and I hope his remaining family and close friends understand and respect his choices at this point. Heroic measures are unlikely to have much effect at this point and would only add to a deterioration of what small quality of life he may have left. Once he is stable enough to get out of the CCU I hope that he is put in contact with a good hospice center.

Wishing you well,


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