Well one thing is for sure I don’t want same ole same ole as my treatment for a recurrence of prostate cancer. Truth be know I don’t want to have prostate cancer rear its ugly head again. To me once is enough, but apparently there is something more to be learned.
I guess for those that know me, I tend to look beyond the obvious to see what, at a deeper level, there is to what is happening in my life. So, there must be a reason or a lesson. After all everything happens for a reason, it’s just up to me and God to help bring the unknown to light.
Many would say that there is an emotional issue first that manifests in physical disease. If that is true, then I apparently have not dealt with the emotional since I am now facing prostate cancer’s return. Whatever the greater picture the one thing I will deal with is the here and now. So where from here?
When prostate cancer returns apparently, as I seem to be told now by a few docs, I am a candidate for “salvage” treatment. What is normal is radiation in the prostate bed area. Beyond that, I could take hormone therapy, effectively chemically castrating me (depriving my body of testosterone – a hormone that feeds prostate cancer). Hum…neither of those appeal to me. Surely there is a more scientific approach.
Radiation to the prostate bed creates all sorts of potential complications or side effects including erectile dysfunction and urinary symptoms such as frequency, bleeding, or, rarely, incontinence. Having experienced both as side effects from surgery, I don’t particularly want to experience them again. In fact, both (especially erectile dysfunction) scare me.
If a man first concludes that prostate cancer is not going to take his life (at least anytime soon) then the issue of quality of life arises. For a man quality of life is made up (at least a good part of it) in his sexual function. If a man were to tell you the truth, they would say that they think of sex often and the inability to have sex or be functionally sexual is one of their greatest fears. Not only is this true for me, but having interviewed over 125 men who have had different types of prostate cancer treatments, most all have said that sexual function was one of their foremost concerns when dealing with treatment options.
Here’s my most popular blog by far on that very subject: https://chuckgallagher.wordpress.com/2008/02/23/sex-after-prostate-cancer-surgery-what-can-you-expect-comments-by-motivational-speaker-and-cancer-survivor-chuck-gallagher/
IS THERE A BETTER WAY?
With the advent of highly specialized ways to do most anything, surely there is a way to find the source of the prostate cancer and deal with it once and for all? Seems a logical question and one that I was focused on finding an answer to. It just didn’t seem right that the best that could be done was a massive blast of radiation in a general area. That’s like going deer hunting with a shotgun and hoping that you’ll be successful (by the way I don’t hunt).
After several google searches I came across something that seemed promising. Here’s a reprint from the Mayo Clinic website that just might be an answer for me. The link is here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/choline-c-11-pet-scan/
Choline C-11 PET scan is an imaging test used to help detect sites of prostate cancer that have returned despite treatment (recurrent prostate cancer). It may be used when other imaging has not been helpful. Choline C-11 PET scan is a positron emission tomography (PET) scan that uses a special chemical tracer called Choline C-11 Injection. At Mayo Clinic, a low-dose computerized tomography (CT) scan is done at the same time to help further show internal anatomy.
Choline C-11 PET scan may help doctors detect possible sites of recurrent prostate cancer that more conventional imaging tests can’t identify. Locating recurrent prostate cancer sooner may allow your doctor to identify small, isolated deposits of cancer — both inside and outside your prostate — that can be targeted for more-effective treatment.
Choline C-11 PET scan uses a radioactive form of the vitamin choline. A small amount of the tracer is injected into a vein in your arm just before the scan is done. Prostate cancer cells in your body readily absorb the tracer. This can help doctors detect areas of prostate cancer cells throughout your body. A biopsy to remove some cells for lab testing is then done to confirm the presence of recurrent prostate cancer.
Accepting that I’m no doctor…I may be missing something, but it would appear that I am finding something here that (at a minimum) could help identify where specifically the cancer is and therefore make a more effective target for treatment (likely some form of radiation). Now some hope. Perhaps I am a candidate and for sure I will be certain to ask for this test. Focus. That’s what I need to feel that I am at least taking some control over this new phase of my life’s health.
More from the Mayo web site:
Helps detect recurrent prostate cancer sooner. Choline C-11 PET scan can help doctors detect recurrent prostate cancer before it may be detected by more conventional imaging tests. In men with rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, this test may help detect sites of possible recurrent prostate cancer at PSA levels as low as 2 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). Conventional tests may not detect a recurrence until PSA levels are between 20 and 30 ng/mL.
You can bet I’ll be calling to schedule an appointment!