My brother was just diagnosed with intermediate stage prostate CA - what can I do to help him?

Good evening

My brother (just turned 65) will be undergoing a radical prostatectomy next Monday at Mass General.  He was in superb health but apparently had a persistently high PSA that led to a biopsy and the diagnosis.  He is talking about possible initial discomfort followed by possible incontinence after the surgery.  He expects to cut back on work for a few months.  He is a stoic and not prone to too much drama, but it sounds scary.   It seems wishes and prayers aren't enough.  For those of you who experienced this surgery/treatment, what support did you find most helpful?  I would appreciate your thoughts.

Linda B.

 

Comments

  • hopeful and optimistic
    hopeful and optimistic Member Posts: 2,333 Member
    .t

    Talmidah,

    I'm sorry for your brothers diagnosis, and I think your frustation in in communicating your support.

    All of us who are diagnosed go through shock and have all those negative feeling during the first few months after diagnosis.We come to the reality that we are finite. This eventually abates.

    It's a good idea for your brother to associate with positive people....ie, if he attends a religious service, he would want the clergyman to be upbeat.

    There are support groups that are available that your brother can attend, where he would gain knowledge and emotional support. USTOO.com is an international organization that sponsors local support groups. He can go to this site to find a support group.

    Family members are more likely to develop prostate cancer or breast cancer, so you need to make sure to get those mamograms, and eat "heart healthy". The men in the family need to be screened for prostate cancer.

    Heart healthy is breast and prostate cancer healthy. In fact men who eat heart healthy after surgery are less likely to have recurrance than other men.

    If you wish, and are able, feel free to provide detailed information about your brothers case to include information from the pathology report, PSA history, digital rectal exam findings, any diagnostic tests to include but not limited to image tests. This will help us provide information to you, about what is going on with him and possible courses of actions, that you and your brother may find helpful.

    We are here for you. Please feel free to contact us with concerns.

    H

     

  • VascodaGama
    VascodaGama Member Posts: 3,583 Member
    "Wishes and prayers" aren't enough but helpful

    Tal,

    Intermediate stage diagnosis refers to the risk in having metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread out of the gland). This is a guessing opinion suggested or defined by his doctor based on past experiences or verified through tests and exams. Most probably your brother has not explained to you in detail what he was told by the doctor that has leaved him preoccupied. Initially we are shocked by the news in particular if we are in superb health.
    We are dealing with the unknown and expect the doctor to be our guard angel but doctors cannot embrace the responsibility of a risky treatment and leave such decision in the hands of the patient (who knows nothing on the matter). This causes worries that increase to the extreme where "wishes and prayers are not enough. One needs help in understanding the facts.

    You can be helpful in making things to look clear and more understandable to him. You can prepare a list of educated questions which will help him when inquiring the doctor(s) in consultations. You can help him when accessing the matters discussed in consultations. Treatments for prostate cancer have risks and side effects treatening the manhood of your brother. Not just incontinence issues but his sex life is in jeopardy too. It is imperative to know details on the consequences that may arise from a therapy.

    He needs to approach the situation coordinately and timely. Here are some reading material that can help you and him in understanding more on the matters;

    http://www.cancer.net/patient/All+About+Cancer/Newly+Diagnosed/Questions+to+Ask+the+Doctor

    http://www.ccjm.org/index.php?id=105745&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=365457&cHash=b0ba623513502d3944c80bc1935e0958

    Risks and side effects of treatments;
    http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-prostate/Pages/Treatment.aspx

    Welcome to the board.

    Best wishes and luck.

    VGama

     

     

  • Clevelandguy
    Clevelandguy Member Posts: 808 Member
    edited November 2016 #4
    Hi,

    Hi,

    I had a RP two years ago, hope all goes well for him.  I had very little pain but more discomfort from the gas they use to blow you up with when they take out the prostate.  The bloated feeling went away in a couple of days. 10 days with the catheter is no fun but the best part if the whole ordeal is when they pull the catheter out.  He will probably be on some sort of pee pad for several months until that area heals up well.  Make sure he does his Kegals once the doctor OK's it, they do help.  ED will be a issue for a while.  Time for all the healing varies so much between how skilled the surgeon was and each individuals own healing rate.  Good family & friend support always helps.

    Dave

    3+4

  • Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3
    Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3 Member Posts: 3,769 Member

    Linda,

    I can tell you a lot about surgical recovery, as can dozens of guys here.  But first: How was the decision for surgery made ? Were other treatments considered, especially some form of radiation ?  Ask these questions, and weigh in detail alternatives before surgery is firmly decided upon.  I am not recommending "against" surgery, but do speak to a good radiation oncologist first, at a minimum.  I suspect U MAss is very good and has all of the information you might need.

    max

  • Swingshiftworker
    Swingshiftworker Member Posts: 1,013 Member
    Just hope for the best . . .

    I assume your brother has been fully advised of the risks of surgery.  Those risks are not limited just to "some discomfort" and "possible incontinence" following surgery and, if that's all he thinks may happen, then he hasn't been properly informed. 

    I don't want to scare you (or him) but the risks are truly much greater than that.  However, since the decision to undergo surgery has already been made, all you can do is hope for the best. 

    Please let us know how it goes.   Good luck and best wishes to him from all of us here. 

     

  • Clevelandguy
    Clevelandguy Member Posts: 808 Member
    Risks

    Hi,

    All treatments, surgery or radiation has risks.  Obtaining the best doctors and hospitals will cut down a lot of those risks.  Don't listen to people who try and stear you to one type of treatment, that's for you and your brother to decide based on the facts & what course you want to persue.  Good luck on your decision and I hope all goes well.  Sounds like your concern for your brother will go a long way towards his mental recovery.

    Dave

    3+4

  • Old Salt
    Old Salt Member Posts: 1,010 Member
    We know so little

    I was very reluctant to add to this thread because we know so very little about your brother and your brother's case. But I hope that the above posts are helpful. If you want to learn more about the surgical approach to prostate cancer, and what your brother might encounter during and after recovery, you could visit some other (reasonably reliable) prostate cancer forums:

    http://www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=35

    http://www.cancerforums.net/forums/14-Prostate-Cancer-Forum

    (Sorry, the software used here makes it very hard to insert clickable links)