Your Experience With Hormone Therapy

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Your Experience With Hormone Therapy

by Ronin on Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:00 AM

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The latest blood test results are in, and while there is still the potential that there isn't an active cancer in my prostate, the signs are that something not so nice is going on in there. (Total PSA 4.6 with Free PSA only 16.7% down from 28% a year ago). At 58 and retired I was hoping for a long and active life beyond work. Now I'm looking for advice from those who have been there. I've been reading a lot about homone therapy (i.e., canceling out the testosterone to starve the tumors or prevent their formation). I've also read that the side-effects can be loss of muscle mass, strength, etcetera. I'm an athlete of sorts, and active tandemist with my wife and also exercise regularly with resistance training (Bowflex). First of all I'm wondering what side effects really do to men who have used it. My brain tells me that I should not really lose all that much strength althoug I may lose muscle definition. And, of course, wondering what it does to one's libido and ability. Obviously I'm attempting to avoid surgery if at all possible, but want to know what to expect if I go down this particular path. FYI: My health care provider is the Veterans Administration, so anyone else who is using the VA is truly welcome.

Experience With Hormone Therapy

by Patrick1 on Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:00 AM

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In some ways, are stories are similar, George. I retired at age 58, tho wasn't diagnosed with PC until 61. I am very active, playing tennis, golf, flyfishing, hiking, working out, etc. However, my PC had metastasized to a lymph node and the seminal vesicles, so I had the prostatectomy in Oct., 2001. I then immediately went on Lupron, and have been on it ever since. After about a month on it, my PSA went to undetectable and has stayed there. Thank God. Re the HT, it causes impotence. In my experience with those I know, everyone is impotent (despite the PDR stating "may cause impotence). But you have almost no sexual desire, either. As far as muscle loss, probably a little, but it really helps to work out and do load-bearing exercises. I think you can avoid most muscle loss that way. Also, bone loss is a very common and sometimes considerable side effect. I have had none, according to bone density tests, and I attribute that to the exercise. I just take a 1000mg calcium pill daily. Re athletic ability, it seemed like I went through a year or so of adjustment where I thought I was really declining. Then I really focussed and I seem to be doing as well as ever, especially adjusting some for just getting older. So for me, that's about it. Not too bad at all. Others seem to have more side effects and I hope they will chime in. I hate to say it, but you may want to consider a prostatectomy if your biopsy (which you should get immediately) shows considerable PC and or aggressive PC. This stuff kills lots of people, every day. But you can decide what to do after the biopsy and consults. Good Health and a Long Life to you, Pat K

Experience With Hormone Therapy

by Ronin on Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:00 AM

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Patrick, Thanks for the quick, and "mostly positive" response. My individual situation is just a bit different. I've had the biopsy and nothing was found. The indicators are that there may be PC forming and, from what I have been reading, I can see some logic to initiating hormone therapy (eliminate the testosterone which seems to be required for PC)now, rather than after the PC gets to the point where they can actually find it (usually after numerous biopsies where it seems that they are attempting a prostate removal one core sample at a time). One thing you didn't mention (and I didn't think to ask about) are side effects in thinking/emotions. While I will be quite happy to lose my quick temper, there are some aspects to being male in thinking that I rather like and would be rue to lose. Of course, if it is a decision between living and dying - I'll choose life. GNW

Biopsy Time

by Badge414 on Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:00 AM

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Your PSA numbers look like you need to have a biospy done to find out whether or not you have prostate cancer. I am 67 and was diagnosed with prostate cancer almost two years ago when my PSA was around 5.9 with 11% ratio. My biopsy showed a Gleason score of 9, so surgery seemed the only option for a fast growing likely to spread cancer. The seminal vesicles but no lymph nodes were involved. The literature now says that further testing should be done when the PSA reaches 2.8. If you have cancer, I recommend hormone therapy as the least invasive treatment. My surgery left me incontinent and impotent. I wear a folded washcloth in my boxer shorts with the top one inch of the washcloth folded over the waist band to keep it in place. I leak just a little bit whenever I cough, sneeze, reach too far, or strain to lift something. I had four months of chemo after surgery, and that was devastating. I lost all my hair, fingernails, and toesnails, then I had hormone therapy for six months with Lupron and daily Casodex. I have moderate breast enlargement which could have been reduced with radiation which I declined. There were painful hot flashes mostly at night, but that was much easier to tolerate than the side effects of surgery and chemo. With chemo, for the first three months, I had a bowel movement every 15 minutes all day long. The type of cancer dictates treatment. Avoid surgery if you can, as that will most likely put an end to your sex life as you know it. Hormone therapy can be used to shrink a tumor to make it easier to remove while sparing those two important nerves running along the prostate. If you do radiation, you can not have surgery done afterwards because of the scarring from radiation. There is a higher rate of colon cancer in those who have had radiation. You need to know your options after you have that biopsy. I watched mine on the video monitor, very informative. Jim

Experience With Hormone Therapy ii

by Patrick1 on Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:00 AM

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Ok, other side effects: For about 18 months I had miserable hot flashes with night sweats that would wake me up, like if you were suddenly thrown into a sauna. These have subsided to minimal, but all the soy milk and soy protein powder, and soy isoflavone pills (all for anti-cancer activity) I take probably have caused the reduction, as well as some physiological adjustment may have helped. However, the soy causes lots of flatulence, which can be mostly stopped with Beano. I was very tired a lot for about a year, but am fine now. But that could be related to recovery from the major surgery as well as some depression which you have to go through when you think you are going to die soon and are waiting for the other shoe to drop in the form of a spike in PSA. Emotional changes: Mainly, I am more sensitive, more caring, more appreciative of the inner person in others. I think that's good and my wife loves it. For a while I lost a lot of my competitive edge in sports, but now I am back to being very competitive, but not irritable or quick-tempered. Again, a good thing. My cognitive processes seem just as good as ever. By the way,I've never heard of HT being used for PC in the absence of a definite PC diagnosis. Have you? Let me know. Its an interesting question. But because of the side effects, its probably not worth it without knowing for sure that you have PC. Good Luck, PatK

Experience With Hormone Therapy Iir

by Ronin on Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:00 AM

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Pat, Again thanks for the response. You asked the following question: "By the way,I've never heard of HT being used for PC in the absence of a definite PC diagnosis. Have you?" No, but in my ongoing research I ran across a few web-sites where there is a proposal that early PC may respond to HT before it really gets going or spreads. Since my biopsy did not show any cancer (of course they could have missed the spot...)I'm wondering about HT as a potential way to treat the disease before we hit the surgical options. Of course, they want yet-another biopsy to be done (prostate removal one core at a time). Who knows what they will, or won't find. So, I'm just in the research mode. I like to plan ahead and know all that I can know before I make any decisions. GNW

RE: Your Experience With Hormone Therapy

by twister on Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:00 AM

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iam 44 and i have prostrate cancer my doctor put me on estrogen hormone because the othe meds made me real ill the estrogen works good for me it stops the male hormones because prostrate cancer need it to grow estrogen also may lower ur PSA down i have been on estrogen for a while but it has a sideaffect on men that take it but i can deal with that problem

RE: Your Experience With Hormone Therapy

by twister on Sat Sep 06, 2008 12:00 AM

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myy name is stacy  and my dad was put on estrogen because all the other meds made him very ill but now hw has lots of other side affects one of them is he got inlarge breast is this one of the sideaffect

RE: Your Experience With Hormone Therapy

by TerryH_1 on Sat Oct 03, 2009 12:00 AM

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I'm amazed that you would even consider the hormones if your biopsies didn't turn up any cancer!!!   I have taken my first shot of Lupron 4 weeks ago and have lost almost all interest in sex, and it gets worse from here. I start radiations treatment in Nov. My biopsies showed cancer in 11 of 12 with a gleason score of 8 and PSA of 12 but my bones are clean.  An elevated PSA in an athleat can be normal if you bicycle. I shure as heck would do any type of treatment if I didn't have to!!!!!   I'm 51   I think you are lucky.

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