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A New Chapter

Posted 10 Feb 2020 at 01:37


I have my PSA checked every two months and my oncologist told me that she expected my results to continue to rise as long as I was on my present treatment (Zoladex).  

When I was tested in November I was pleasantly surprised that my figure had fallen to 2.50 from 3.20 in the previous test (in September).

My latest PSA results, two weeks ago showed a rise to 4.10, quite a jump from 2.50, two months before. 

I been trying to figure out why the November result would have been so much lower than expected and what may have caused it. The rate of rise has been fairly consistent in the two years since restarting treatment. 

I think I may have discovered why. 

A week before I took the November test I'd spent the night in hospital because my blood oxygen level had fallen to 84% causing me to be very breathless.  After 6 hours on oxygen I was sent home with a 5 day supply of steroid tablets to take.

It was only the other day when I was reading possible treatments for advanced prostate cancer that it mentioned that steroids are sometimes given to slow down the progression of cancer. 

Could this be why the lower result occurred?  If so, should I be on steroids now rather than having than treatment at a later stage as it seems to have worked better than Zoladex alone?

In reality, I would be very reluctant to take steroids on a regular basis because of the side effects that I know can occur. My wife has been prescribed them for another condition and she is now diabetic as a result. 

I'd be interested to hear if anyone has any thoughts on my idea that it may have been the steroids that caused the unexpected fall in PSA.



Edited by member 16 May 2020 at 02:23  | Reason: Not specified

Posted 10 Feb 2020 at 08:46


I don't know if the steroids have anything to do with your psa score. What I will say though is even after my recent change in treatment due to the PC spreading. I am still on steroids, even though I have stopped Abiraterone and gone onto chemo. I must ask my onco why he has continued even though the abi has failed.  The benefits in the past have outwayed the side effects for me anyway so maybe they would in your case ?


Posted 10 Feb 2020 at 09:55


Steroids do seem to have a positive effect in keeping PCa at bay...........

Steroids can be used to try to shrink the tumour and stop it growing. The most effective steroid treatment is dexamethasone (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/prostate-cancer/treatment/)

So certainly worth raising it with your consultant.



Posted 23 Mar 2020 at 02:05


Over the last few months my wife and I have had quite a few changes in our lives.  The biggest probably, moving to a bungalow after living at our old house for 36 years.  That was our family home but with none of our four children still living at home, it seemed the right time to downsize.  

The place we moved to needed complete modernisation including a new kitchen and bathroom, which all takes time.  We've only been there just over two months but my wife is unhappy that we haven't managed to get more done.

The new kitchen is due to be fitted starting this week but now she's convinced that it won't happen because of the coronavirus.

This is the problem.  She's always been a "glass half empty" type of person who believes that everyone else is having a wonderful life and the bad things only happen to us, not anyone else.

Now the coronavirus is here, she's convinced that we are bound to be the ones that will die from it because of our health conditions. 

I have always tried to be positive in my outlook in life but I'm finding it harder to live with a person who sees doom and gloom around every corner. 

We are self isolating, even though we have no symptoms, but it's becoming difficult even after two or three days.

Is anyone else having these problems. 


Posted 23 Mar 2020 at 07:34
Had 2 new velux fitted on Friday, I was convinced they wouldn't show up but they did. Bigger issue - they didn't bring enough slates, but my wondert neighbour sorted me some out and all was well!
Posted 23 Mar 2020 at 09:31


Tell be about it!  Trying to be reassuring I'm finding is in itself can be pretty draining too.  It's important to look after your own mental health. For me its pottering in the garden and listening to repeats of Gardener's Question Time! (and not thinking that we're supposed to be moving house in two weeks!).



Posted 23 Mar 2020 at 14:40

All ok this in but being tech I’m kinda used to a computer screen. It’s like an extended lock down since surgery as I went offline 10 days before surgery. Then took it easy post RRAP albeit it a weekly social and daily walks. Now messing about with tech/tv plus a bit of Pilates and some afternoon sun in the garden. After this 12 weeks will have done about 6 months in semi lockdown. I’m ready for MarsOne 🤖🤪🤓

Posted 23 Mar 2020 at 15:14

 Steve, I do feel for you, living with someone who finds it difficult to find positives in every day living can be hard, especially at times like this. Moving house can be stressful, and doing house alterations hard going. Whilst David was having his treatments I was project managing our house extension, with a builder who turned out to be rather useless and quite dim.🤓we lived in brick dust and chaos for nearly a year. I was cutting veg one lunch time and the said builder’s boys had gone home as he’d not paid them.... I had paid him thou! I chased after him with large kitchen knife in hand, forgetting to put it down, he was horrified, scared and somewhat more compliant after. Though still a cr*p builder. 😊

Thankfully like you I’m quite positive, and hopefully resilient emotionally and physically. David can get a bit on the doom and gloom side, but he manages this with my help, and sometimes he’s right to be fed up.

I hope you manage to get the kitchen and bathroom completed, but not having it done might prevent you both from being exposed to this virus. 

I do also feel for your wife, I’m sure she feels vulnerable, this might add to her glass half empty feeling. Remind her when the work is being done, cutting veggies and getting frustrated with your worker can have results, but to


put the knife down first. This is not a post  about PCa, but I hope it gives you a smile.🗡🗡Leila 


scare the living daylights out of them. 




Edited by member 23 Mar 2020 at 17:20  | Reason: Not specified

Posted 23 Apr 2020 at 03:33


Thanks for all the replies. 

Just an update.  I had a PSA test on Tuesday and have just been texted the results. 

My latest figure is 4.30, up from 4.10 in January. The one before that in November was 2.50.

This seems like a cause for celebration but because this was done at a gp's surgery which isn't my normal one, I wondering if the sample was sent to a different lab (maybe due to the situation with coronavirus).  I normally have all my tests done by my local hospital and would have preferred to have done that on this occasion but I was reluctant to risk it.

It's silly I know but I would have been happier knowing that my usual lab had provided the results. 


Posted 23 Apr 2020 at 07:26

I am a bit skeptical that different labs will be wildly different.

Your big leap before was likely due to having taken a short dose of steroids, if I recall, which probably suppressed that 2.50 reading from what it should have been.

I don't think you should hold back on the celebration Steve...


Posted 23 Apr 2020 at 13:41

A modest rise Steve, here’s hoping the labs aren’t too different.

A wee celebration seems ok?



Posted 23 Apr 2020 at 17:50


I had a couple of cans of lager anyway. 

I'll have a couple more this evening if I can get away with it.


Posted 23 Apr 2020 at 21:59
Good to see you're going well Steve. Enjoy your beer, my good lady and I have just shared a bottle of wine following the NHS and carer applause.

Take care.

Posted 23 Apr 2020 at 23:53
A different lab is unlikely to make a dramatic difference to the result - the difference between the Leeds lab and Harrogate lab was only 0.2 when we tested it. Have you asked the GP practice which lab they used? Seems a simple way to put your mind at rest.
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

Posted 24 Apr 2020 at 17:30

Enjoy the beer. I’ve cracked open some wine. I’m sure the like of Bollinge and others will be on the sauce also.

i found My PSAs pre diagnosis fluctuated quite a bit between 2015 to 2018 (Up and down between 3.9-4.4). But there was a subtle trend upwards although marginal. Then a jump from ~4.5 to 5.6 in July 2019. Now all <0.01. Next test May 🥴

Posted 24 Apr 2020 at 17:47

Originally Posted by: Online Community Member
i found My PSAs pre diagnosis fluctuated quite a bit between 2015 to 2018 (Up and down between 3.9-4.4).


Steve is not pre-diagnosis - he has fallen into the recurrence camp. 

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

Posted 24 Apr 2020 at 18:45

Hi Steve,  I had a similar experience with a GP test and they couldn't say why.

My psa is <0.05 at the hospital.  The GP called me in for a health check and I asked if they could tick psa test.   They said I'd need to be under a urologist and so kindly agreed, I thought.

At the screening they said it was 0.08 so below the 4 it could be at my age the GP's notes said.  Oh for blanket notes! 

The 0.08 worried me as it was a 60% rise in 4 months.  The lady doing the health screen said she knew nothing about it and I'd have to see the urologist.

I know the GP doesn't use the < symbol.

Anyway the Macmillan Nurse at Preston said take a test there.  Luckily it came back <0.05.  She said there's often a difference but my feeling was that in a health screening they must have set the minimum higher or it went to another lab or a typo.

Whether yours is anything like that I don't know but I don't want to go the GP again. All the best Peter

Posted 25 Apr 2020 at 03:09
Steve, you have had so much to contend with and I would not be concerned about this latest very small increase. PSA does fluctuate and unless there is a substantial rise, generally works better over time showing an overall trend.
Posted 28 Apr 2020 at 01:20


A "21st." is usually a day of great celebration.  It used to be a birthday that marked the day when we officially became an adult, with our whole lives ahead of us.  But today, for me, my 21st. means something very different. 

Later this morning, I will lay back and receive my 21st. Zoladex implant into my stomach.  Never really painful, sometimes a little uncomfortable, it will be given to try and slow the growth of a cancer that for me, will end my life.  

So it will not be a time of dreams and excitement for the life that is to come, just another £235 cost to the hard pressed NHS,  £4935 in total so far, for a treatment that is now failing.

It's hard not to feel guilty, when you consider there are others far more deserving.  




Edited by member 28 Apr 2020 at 08:52  | Reason: Not specified

Posted 28 Apr 2020 at 14:45

Hi Steve,

just read your latest post and then re-read your profile.  Gosh you have been through some very difficult times over the last six years!

What really stood out for me were your comments about the birth of your four Grandsons over that time.  What pleasure they must have brought to your lives and what a wonderful Grandad I’m sure you are.  You shouldn’t feel guilty for one moment as you are as deserving as anyone for any treatment available that will enable you to keep looking forward and being there for those you love and who love you.

These are very unusual times that we are living in, to say the least, and depression will try to get the better of us, but I’m sure you will find the strength, as you have done before to keep going and looking forward to the time when we can all give big hugs to the ones we treasure.

Sending you and your wife a big hug and best wishes,


Posted 28 Apr 2020 at 16:12
Steve you've been through the mill over the years. Whilst its admirable to think of others stop doing the cost of treatment maths. You would have contributed to the NHS funds to help others. Now its your turn to let others help you. Nothing whatsoever to feel guilty about.

Be as well as you can


Posted 29 Apr 2020 at 11:49

I need urgent help and this website doesnt work properly. Can you pm me so you can get published what I need to say. If not my email is consumer.cashin@yahoo.co.uk

Ten years since diagnosis, seven years of good QOL - last two years hell.

I was once Spartacus - but my body is weak now. Cancer will be the victor with the ultimate irony that after it has has killed me, destroyed my family, denied me of 25 years or so of travelling, food enjoyment etc, the sheer irrelevance of its purpose means that all its little brain dead cancer cells will die too. GOOD!!!

Posted 14 May 2020 at 03:50


Just noticed that yesterday (the 13th) was the day, six years ago, that I had my very first PSA test.

When the results came back showing my PSA was 48.85, my GP told me that it was "slightly raised".

So began my journey... 


Posted 14 May 2020 at 08:24

HI Steve,

What a journey.

When my PSA came back as 57, my GP immediately said,
     "You've got prostate cancer".
He was right of course, but I hadn't even been referred yet. Now that I know him much better (and he has been fantastic throughout), I know his father had prostate cancer, as did the GP heading the practice, so he will have known much more about it than most GPs.

I must ask him what his threshold level is for telling someone on the spot they have prostate cancer.

Posted 14 May 2020 at 18:46

What a journey Steve, glad you’re still here.



Posted 15 May 2020 at 11:04

Hi Steve,

It’s been a bumpy road you’ve travelled on but we’re pleased you’re still with us


Posted 22 May 2020 at 11:34
Keep on keeping on!!!!!!!!
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