Metastases/life Expectancy

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Metastases/life Expectancy

by Elpida on Wed Feb 01, 2006 12:00 AM

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Hello. My dad (61) was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer 3 months ago, with metastasis on the bones, lymph nodes and I suspect that it has spread out to the bladder and kidneys. It is grade 9 and it's very aggressive. He is on hormonal therapy, he has done one injection so far. From what the doctor says he doesn't have much life left and he suspects that his organism doesn't respond to the therapy. I do not know what aggressive cancer means and how long he could live. I know that noone can answer this question but I am confused, because if it's aggressive shouldn't he be in pain and lying on the bed by now? He still goes to work and makes plans of the future and tries to be happy and optimistic. Of course, he doesn't know it is aggressive and where exactly it has spread. But he doesn't look like a person who is about to 'travel' any time soon. Any opinions, thouhts or experiences?

Response

by Jmw0913 on Thu Feb 02, 2006 12:00 AM

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I am sorry to hear about your Dad's recent diagnosis. However, I find it extremely encouraging that he is feeling so well and doing so much. I will tell you what I "know" and what I "think" and most of it is based on my Father's own experience with prostrate cancer - as I am not an expert on the disease - only on my Father's course with the disease. I believe that a large majority of prostate cancers that have never been treated with hormone therapy respond well to it at first. At some point most prostrate cancer's become "smart" to the hormones - and then hormones no longer help - becoming hormone refractory prostate cancer. But I will hope that your Dad does see improvement with hormonal therapy for as long as he can. It took my Father's cancer 8 years to become hormone refractory - however his was not as advanced as your Dad's appears to be. I am glad your Dad is not in pain from the bone cancer. There is a drug called Zometa that can decrease bone cancer pain. It does work wonders. Also prostate cancer - although it cannot be cured from chemo - it can extend the life of a patient. However, I believe that his Doctor is probably trying the best approach 1st before moving onto anything else. Again hormonal therapy is wonderful when it works - and in the beginning I believe MOST times there is some improvement. Good luck to you & your Dad. When my Father's cancer spread to the bones and lymphs and lungs - it spread like wildfire - and he died 7 months and 3 days later - he however had the disease for 10 years - and had tried various treatments - that extended his life that long. In those 7 months with the bone cancer - he could not walk, go to the bathroom himself, dress himself. He experienced lots of pain in his bones and sides - decreased appetitite and lost over 30 pounds (he was skinny to begin with) - so this sounds like the TOTAL opposite of your Dad who is feeling pretty well and living life pretty normally considering. My Father was also 82 years old - but was active up until the "terminal" diagnosis. I really think you will see an improvement with the hormonal therapy. Janet

Thank You

by Elpida on Thu Feb 02, 2006 12:00 AM

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Hello Janet, Thank you very much for your good words and support. I hope that it will turn out as "good" for my dad too. My concern is that the cancer went to the bones right away, within a month or so, but I don't know if it was already there or it was just diagnosed now. But since it is aggressive you never know... I have heard similar stories, like your dad's, that people had it for years until they finally passed away. But our case may be a sad exception.. I feel it's unfair.. no family history, he had absolutely no health problems (not even diabetes or high blood pressure) but just this.. I will meet the doctor tomorrow and he will tell me what exactly is going on, what to do next and what painkillers he will take. I am just hoping he was exaggerating, but.. anyway.. Thank you so much! Take care, Irene.

Life Expectancy

by Knotslanding on Thu Feb 02, 2006 12:00 AM

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I'd like to add my thoughts here, not about the course of the disease, but the course of the life. My sister was diagnosed 8 months ago with Stage IV liver cancer (we've not yet identified the primary cancer!) and was given the long, dour face by her doctors. She is still feeling pretty good and is able to maintain a quite life with her family and she's not in pain. On learning the sad news of her cancer, she decided that she's going to really LIVE the remainder of her life doing the things that make life precious for her. One thing she did was to make a CD of the lullabies she used to sing for her children (which, of course, were songs we grew up on and sang to our kids, too)which was beautiful and very moving. Lately, she's recording all her early life memories as a legacy for her children. She sent me the copy for editing and comments. I encourage you to focus on the time you have to live with your dear father. Best wishes.

Aggressive Cancer

by Patwh on Fri Feb 03, 2006 12:00 AM

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Dear Elvida, When you said you dad had "aggressive cancer" and you didn't know what that meant, you are not alone! My husband was told he has aggressive multiple myeloma (his type is IGA)and when he said it he said "unfortunately, yours is the aggressive type" so I assume it means it is a type that spreads faster and is harder to put into remission which has been the case since it has been a year that he has been on thalidomide and he has not gotten near remission yet. However, he doesn't seem to be as bad as I have read about on the e-mails of other multiple myeloma patients that have had it for less than a year and have stem cell transplants! Which by the way he refused to have! He just takes the Thalidomide and I.V.'s for bone strengthing. Plus pain med. So, what aggressive means and how long, I guess only God knows for sure!! Let him enjoy his good times! And you do the same, that's what I'm doing! PatW.

Agressive Prostate Cancer

by Beerman on Sat Feb 04, 2006 12:00 AM

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I was diagnosed with advanced/agressive prostate cancer in April, 1999. By advanced, they mean that it is in the higher Gleason and stage rating. Aggressive is that the cells tend to reproduce more readily than ones that are not aggressive. I had lots of pelvic pain initially that was prostititus. Also, bladder problems--burning and slow stream. Aching all over like I had arthritus. I was weak. Due to my cancer having metastized into the lymphytic system and being stage 4, Gleason 7, I was put on hormonal therapy. The doctors thought that I might have cancer in the bones, but the bone scan was ok. They also thought it might have spread into the pelvic/bladder area due to my pain, but apparently it had not. I took a shot of Lupron 25 mg every three months (later switched to four months--Lupron 30 mg) and a daily tablet of Casodex 50 mg. My PSA dropped from 144 to 0.83 in two months after beginning medication and dropped down to 0.1 after another three months. The doctor told me that the average life of the hormonal medicines was around 18 month to 2 years before it became resistant or goes refractory. However, I have read that some guys have gone over ten years using the hormonal therapy. I am going on 7 years, so I guess I am lucky. A year after I was diagnosed, I went on a mega dose of vitamins sold by a Dr. Julian Whitaker (1-800-722-8008)and within one day, my leg aching left, within one month the aching (like arthritus) was gone and within six weeks, I got my strenght back. I suspect my immune system was out of wack, so the vitamins helped a lot. Also, my prostititus eventually disappeared and my bladder became normal to near normal--sometimes my stream gets slower for two or three days, then goes to normal. I did go on PC Spes, an herb for 18 months, and my PSA stayed in the range of 0.1 to less than 0.1. It was taken off the market, so I went back on the lupron and Casodex 50 mg, but using it intermittantly (on it for six to eight months, then off medication for approx the same period. Since my PSA is normally less than 0.1 to 0.1, when the PSA begins to climb and gets in the 4-5 range, I go right back on medication). This is to extend the life of the medication before it goes refractory due to studies that have been done. Right now, my PSA is 0.1. I feel good with some weakness occasionally, but that is due to occasional atrial fibrillation of the heart that has nothing to do with the cancer. I do every thing I want to do, walk several miles per day, watch my diet (sometimes go off it and enjoy a steak, burger, TexMex or chocolate that I love) and weight. What the heck, one has to enjoy life, too. When the hormonal therapy becomes resistant, per discussions I have had with my oncologist, I will either go on chemo that works fairly well, or try to get in a clinical trial going the immunotherapy route--I prefer the immuno... route since I think it is an excellent approach to living with cancers. I hope your dad gets along as well as I did/have. One thing that I think is very important is keeping a good attitude and keep working. I tend to be a happy-go-lucky type anyhow and I kept on working even though I had lots of pain the first year. I am now happily retired (age 69). Also, a little prayer does not hurt. I have also written my memoirs (over 650 pages with over 200 pages of photos). Hopefully, my decendants will appreciate it one day. I also go to a monthly cancer support group that is very good and plan on starting my own Prostate cancer group in April in this area. Good luck.

Agressive Prostate Cancer - Thank You

by Elpida on Sun Feb 05, 2006 12:00 AM

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Hello Robert, I am very happy to hear how well you feel. You are a very strong person, I really admire you. My dad so far feels well. I mean, he eats, drinks, jokes etc as if nothing is wrong. He is not an active person, as in assertive, but he is patient and calm, he never gets stressed out or depressed, so I guess this is helpful. His Gleason's score is 9, and it has spread to the lymphs and bladder. However, I saw the doctor on Friday and he told me that afterall he doesn't have cancer on the bones (which was the initial diagnosis), it's only in the bladder and lymphs. It's arthritis instead. His PSA dropped from 41 to 2.7, only with one injection, and we will learn how it goes after the second one (in a week). For now, he is only on hormonal therapy and he takes the Casodex daily as well. The doctor said that chemo won't be very effective when the hormonal will stop working. I don't know how true this is though because many people go on chemo and do well. Back in November they had given him 6-7 months, however, three months have passed and he is fine. But of course doctors are always cautious. Once I knew a person who had cancer and the doctors gave her 2 months; she lived 17 years! The doctor said that he can eat and drink whatever he wants, but if the creatinin increases he will have to cut down on meat. I am thinking to introduce herbals to him etc, but I don't know which ones or how effective they are. He still works and I think this is very important, he keeps himself busy. I find it extremely important too to have goals and aspirations for the future, as you do with the prostate cancer group. My dad has some long-term goals as well. I would like to thank you for the information. It has been valuable and you have given me a more optimistic view of the things. Good luck :)

Agressive

by Elpida on Sun Feb 05, 2006 12:00 AM

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Dear Pat, I guess that this is the "definition" of agressive, the fast rate of growth which can't be stopped as it can be with slow-growing cancer. However, I think this is all very subjective and it depends on the psychology of the individual. As long as they can fight it, be optimistic and think of the future they can do very well and live for a long time. Being an agressive or assertive person helps too. Until God decides what happens we have the time to enjoy our time with our people. It's not the time to mourn, but to celebrate with them :) Elpida

Hormone Therapy

by Badge414 on Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:00 AM

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Hello Elpida, I am 68 and have aggressive prostate cancer which was diagnosed less than three years ago. I had a PSA of 7.82, biopsy showed Gleason score 9. I had the radical prostatectomy after many tests including an inconclusive bone scan, MRI, and X-rays. My PSA three months after surgery started up from 0.71, so I had four months of chemo which brought it down to 0.22. Then it started up again, and I had the one-month Lupron shot with daily Casodex which brought the PSA down to 0.01. I stopped the hormone therapy after 6 months, accoring to the intermittent therapy plan, and when my PSA got up to 0.70, I went back on hormone therapy. Your father should expect the same results, which has already been demonstrated. I would suggest that he consider External Beam Radiation to kill the cancer, that is a cure. Hormone therapy is not a cure, merely controlling or palliative. If it spreads to bone, radiation can reduce the tumors to block pain. Surgery would not be considered if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or other places, but the hormone therapy could work for a long time to come. Some times hormone therapy is used to shrink the prostate tumor to allow for radiation treatment. Your dad should consider that. Jim

to Someone Who Understands

by Sam_i_am on Mon May 15, 2006 12:00 AM

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My dad is 54 and was diagnosed with prostate cancer in Feb. of this year. His psa is 6.6 with a gleason of about 7. His doctor scheduled him to have his prostate removed in April and during surgery they found that cancer had spread to his two right lymph nodes. We were in shock with the news after being told beforehand, that the chances of cancer spreading beyond his prostate was extremely slim. SO-my dad is a unusual case. I am the oldest in the family, a daddy's girl, and I have been doing everything in my power to research as much as I can in order to gain some insight into this disease. It's been hard to take all of this in as it as all unfolded in such a short time it seems. His bone and CT scan had revealed nothing but based on past conclusions about a cancer-contained-in-prostate-only diagnosis (which was obviously not true), I am wondering how accurate these tests are. I've asked his doctor about it but I don't feel as satisfied with his explanation...how do they know for sure that the cancer hasn't spread/contained in the pelvis? My dad is currently undergoing radiation treatment (Mon-Fri, 8wks). I am looking towards getting him into juicing to promote his overall health. I pray all the time...he has so much ahead of him (to see us kids get married, grandkids, quality life, etc :) Is there anything we can do to help him with his fight (in terms of nutrition)? How effective is hormone therapy? How did you know whether or not the radiation was effective other than its spread to the bones? Psa is indicative but it's not a guaranteed insurance that the radiation targeted the cancer. And what does Lupron do? As you can tell, I have so much on my heart and I know you understand. You seem to have a courage that I find comforting... Sameera
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