It seems as though we men are constantly bombarded by articles talking about the fact that the PSA test isn’t perfect and how it does more harm than good.
We hear these arguments despite the fact that the annual prostate cancer death toll dropped significantly following the introduction and widespread use of the PSA test.
The following update comes from a man who was diagnosed after his prostate cancer had metastasized – spread into his body beyond the prostate gland.
As you read this account, think about his situation and how different his story would be had his prostate cancer been diagnosed before it metastasized. By the way, the cost of a Provenge treatment series in 2011 was $93,000.00. Got health insurance?
Begin the story
“Well, got back last night from my follow up (60 day) after my last Provenge treatment. For those who don’t know what Provenge is, I’ll make it as simple as possible. For about 6 weeks before Christmas, I went to CTCA and they would take some of my white blood cells out of my blood and then send them off to be “engineered” or turned into “Transformers.” Then 4 days later inject them back into my blood stream. We would go through this process every two weeks for a total of 3 times. The idea is that my immune system would then attack JUST the prostate cancer cells. I had originally heard about this process while it was still in clinical trial testing over 2 years ago. I believed that this process would provide some miraculous results.
Well, it didn’t provide the results that I had been hoping and praying for. The cancer has progressed, only “slightly” but it has progressed. Since I have been feeling better than I have in maybe 3 years,….. I WAS PISSED!!! Went through a day or two of “shit, damn, “poor little old me”, FU*K!!!” Didn’t seem to help, so……. I’m going back to my POSITIVE, I’m here for the other guy/gal, it ain’t gonna’ get me down, It ain’t over till the “Fat Lady” sings and she hasn’t even cleared her throat yet, “it’s all in GOD’s hands” attitude.
So, tomorrow (Friday) I start on Taxotere. It’s a chemotherapy that has in the past been used for breast cancer but they have found that it works for prostate cancer too. It seems to work in a couple of different ways. It seems to cause some cancer cells to “self-destruct”. However, it’s main process is to target and interfere with cell division so that the cancer cell cannot rapidly reproduce and grow. The problem is that the drug also effects the other “rapidly growing cells” like hair, nails, gastrointestinal and bone marrow cells. Since I have a bit of a shortage of bone marrow (since the cancer has eaten up a good share of what I had) this is going to be a bit of concern….. at least for me it will be. According to the oncologist, the Taxotere might even help provide a bit of a “chaser” or booster for the Provenge. (WE CAN ONLY HOPE & PRAY!!!) Should be interesting what I’m gonna look like bald, or should I say balder! I thought about getting my first treatment of the chemo at CTCA, but then I thought….. “If I’m maybe gonna puke my guts up….. let’s do it on my home turf.” Going to have to get treated every 3 weeks and then at the end of April it’s back to CTCA for bone scans and see if we can get this cancer stopped for a little while, cause …..CANCER SUCKS!!!!!
Thanks to everyone for your support, LOVE, prayers and thoughts. They DO mean a lot!
Hope everyone is doing well and may GOD bless each and everyone of you.”
What you can do to avoid this situation
Get a baseline PSA test at age 35. Then, test annually and track the values each year, looking for any increase.
Beginning in June 2012, you will be able to use the Prostate Cancer Awareness Project’s free online PSA tracker that will be available at ProstateTracker.org. You can get on the email list to be notified when the site goes live at http://eepurl.com/g6uiA.