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My dad has been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer

User
Posted 16 Feb 2017 at 16:15
My dad has recently been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, they said one side is a 4.3 and the other a 3.4, he is a T3a, was told he has an aggressive cancer on one side and is due next week to under go a radical prostatectomy. He has just been given a bone scan which we are waiting to hear the results for. Obviously he and our family are all terrified and absolutely heart broken. I've tried to research what I can but I'm just wondering if you can explain this to me, I'm the kind of woman who needs to understand everything so I can help my parents understand too so it isn't all doctor talk. They said if it's spread to his bones (it hasn't his nodes) that his treatment will change, what would the other treatments be? My dad has it in his head that he will only have a year to live, and that every ache and pain (shoulders, back ect) is all to do with his cancer. He is 53 and was a builder for years, and he also had a serious accident in September 2015 when a truck had squashed him. We try and say it's age, wear and tear and trauma from his accident but he's in such a panic that he thinks he hasn't got long left. Sorry to vent on here but I hate talking about it with my parents because I'm doing my hardest to keep positive for them both.

Any help and advance would be excellent. Also, my dad is worried about time off work and not being able to make ends meet. Can you get help from somewhere when you're going through cancer treatment.

Thanks, looking forward to your replies x

User
Posted 16 Feb 2017 at 16:32

Hi and welcome

Advanced? A quick calm of nerves. Radical treatment is not usually offered unless 10 years survival is likely. So if those bone scans are ok radical treatment is on the cards. Otherwise its drugs to control for many years. In the prostate cancer world aggressive doesn't mean it's blasting through the body more just the staging such as Gleason grade is scored 8 to 10.

No doubts others will give a fuller reply

Ray

Edited by member 16 Feb 2017 at 16:34  | Reason: Not specified

User
User
Posted 16 Feb 2017 at 18:45
Thank you so much for answering so quickly. And that's some positive news, I sincerely hope you're right and that's his scan is alright cause I don't think he could or we could take anymore bad news.

My dad is my hero and to know he is hurting and poorly, I feel useless. So anymore information would be a God send, just so it eases our minds.. especially my dads

User
Posted 16 Feb 2017 at 18:59

People have all sorts of aches and pains when they are told they have cancer, mostly in their mind or due to tension - it is very shocking. If they already have the op planned for next week they must be very confident that it hasn't spread - men with PCa that has spread are not offered surgery. The bone scan is just a precaution - some hospitals do it routinely for all men diagnosed, while others do it only if the biopsy and other results indicate bone spread is likely.

What was his PSA?

As for help while people are having cancer treatment - I take it he is self-employed? If so, there is no government financial assistance - they expect self-employed people to take out insurance to cover these things - but he will now be entitled to free prescriptions. He can get a form from the local chemist and ask his GP to sign it. If he is worried about time off, with the operation that is likely to be 10 - 12 weeks for a builder. He might have been better opting for radiotherapy so that he could work every day and just fit the appointments round his work?

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

User
Posted 16 Feb 2017 at 19:15
He is a truck driver, but I'll pass on the info about prescriptions ect.

He had biopsys done in January and MRI in December. His consultan was furious that he wasn't put through for his bone scan, he had that last Friday and we are still waiting for the results. Worrisome cause he has his pre op tomorrow and is due in Tuesday for the surgery itself. I have said today that no news is good news, because surely he can't get there on Monday for them to say he can no longer have the surgery surely? He has to travel to get to the hospital he is having it done at too, so surely with that in mind they would call him or write a letter or something.

His PSA is 26, but they said one side is slow growing but the other is more aggressive and has come out to make it a T3A. Before his diagnosis he had a check up not even 3 years ago. Could his accident of triggered his cancer off? My dad was pressed against a wall by his article trailer with a MASSIVE amount of weight. Main pressure was to his pelvis, he ended up with rhabdomyolysis with other things too.

IF it has spread to his bones then what happens? Treatment wise, well... everything wise. Sounds a daft question I know

User
Posted 16 Feb 2017 at 20:57

Hello Jade,

I can understand yours and your dad's fears.

That frightening word "cancer" is a death sentence isn't it? But that is an initial reaction, born of our own fears and ignorance of the disease. It's a new word in your lives and panic is the first reaction.
Prostate cancer can be incurable but even when it's incurable it can be lived with. We have a number of men on here who have been diagnosed as incurable but who live very full lives and they make every day their new normal.

Pretty well all of us, whether we're the man with cancer or his family, have been where you are now so we do know the process you are going through. No question you could ask is a daft question if you don't know the answer. Somebody on here will either know what you mean or be able to point you in the direction

Ray has given you a link about understanding how PC is diagnosed. If you go to Publications you can download some of the other information on treatments and how to cope emotionally etc. Well worth looking at and perhaps something your dad could be reassured by.

You can also speak to the nurses on this site during their working hours and I'm sure they will be happy to advise you.

If dad is worried about finances you might be able to get some emergency help through Macmillan as I think they have a social fund.

Dad is feeling every ache and pain and has convinced himself he hasn't long left. Have these pains just started or did he in fact have the same sort of pain after his rhabdomyolysis. Couldn't it be that the injuries he sustained then now be making themselves felt even more, and probably stress isn't helping.

If your dad is undergoing surgery, his doctors must feel that he stands a good chance of beating the beast. They can't afford to waste resources if there isn't a probability of a good outcome.

Deep breath and calm down. All is not lost. He and your mum are lucky to have you taking this worry on your shoulders.

We can't control the winds - but we can adjust our sails
User
Posted 16 Feb 2017 at 21:32
Thank you for such kind words and understanding. It means alot. My dad has had these pains for a few years but I think with hearing that he has cancer he has convinced himself that it's ALOT worse than we all think, we can't seem to help him there because he won't accept what we say. I know that his worries maybe true, but also they may just be his fears convincing him it's his cancer. He has said he hasn't felt "right" for a long time. Everything he is thinking and doing is textbook and it's completely understandable. Every fear he has had since being examined at the doctors has come true, and the next fear is that it's spread to his bones. Just want him to be proved wrong at least once.

And you're right, when you hear the word cancer you do automatically think the worse, it's something you know about but unless someone you know/love or yourself you don't seem to actually look into it. Before my dad was diagnosed it felt like a rare thing to see on tv, social media, papers ect. But now it feels like it's smacking us in the face in every direction we turn. It's everywhere! My heart goes out to anyone who has it and to their family's and friends.

So far your replies have been very positive for information. I really appreciate you all for taking the time to reply and give advice

User
Posted 16 Feb 2017 at 21:44

The comment about one side being more aggressive is because one side has a Gleason of 4+3 while the other is 3+4. All it means is that one that side there are more cancerous cells that are a 4 pattern (the number describes how distorted they are) than a 3 pattern (3 being the lowest number you can get). So although he has one side which is a bit more distorted than the other, he is still a Gleason 7 which is medium risk.

Aggressive doesn't mean what you imagine - that the cells are rushing round his body - it is just describing how distorted the cells are. Imagine that a healthy cell is a perfect circle - that would be a 1 (if 1 existed). If it changed to be an oval, that would be a 2 but still not cancer. If it became a lumpy oval that would be a 3 which is the lowest score that would be given to a cancerous cell. By the time it looks like a starfish it is a 4 whereas a 5 would be like the ugliest lumpiness starfish ever. 5 is the highest grade.

What you don't seem to know is what percentage of dad's cells were affected - it could be that 80% of his gland was cells that are a grade 4 or it could be that he has a tiny tumour that is only affecting 5% of the cells. So it isn't the 3s and 4s that matter so much as how much of the gland is affected.

The T3 is not because of the Gleason score - that is a different measure based on other factors. The T3 tells the doctor that they think the cancer is just starting to affect the outside of the prostate, maybe some nearby lymph nodes or his nerve bundles perhaps. But they must believe that this is only a minor breach - they would not offer him the operation if they did not believe he was curable - that would be a waste of NHS resources and an unacceptably unnecessary risk to the patient.

No news is good news - you are probably right. But there is a small possibility that they would cancel the op at short notice; someone has to look at the bone scans and interpret them which sometimes takes a little time, and then they would need to send the scan results to the urologist.

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

User
Posted 16 Feb 2017 at 21:47

There is no proven reason for developing PCa. Take your pick from faulty genes, lifestyle, diet, environment or possibly injury, the list goes on. Is it better to spend your time on how best to move forward ?

However disappointing and frustrating it would be if surgery was cancelled due to bone scan it's better that than your dad going through surgery with all its long term potential side effects for very little or indeed any gain at all.

If radical treatment is not applicable then alternative conventional treatment is hormone therapy or the onco might consider some form of chemo.

Ray


User
Posted 17 Feb 2017 at 00:57

I am not saying that this will happen but with a T3a there is quite a possibilty that after surgery RT, possibly also some HT will be advocated or another form of treatment depending on what is revealed during surgery and follow up PSA tests.

Barry
User
Posted 17 Feb 2017 at 08:05
Thank you all again, never thought of it that way.. going through all the pain and side affects for no reason if his bone scan is another back step. I haven't read the link Ray has put up yet as I'm getting my children ready for school.

What treatment would you recommend? Either speaking as someone who is or had treatment themselves or someone who has a loved one going through this? I have read about some treatments but it doesn't give much detail as to what they do? How long for or how the person will feel. Like if it makes you poorly or weak. The reason why I ask this is because as I said above my dad is a long distance lorry driver. He is worried about work, plus I also think he wants to work so his mind is occupied and not focused on this the whole time

User
Posted 17 Feb 2017 at 09:34

I don't think anyone here can recommend a treatment for your dad. What is right for one person's cancer may not be right for another and in the same way what is right for one person's lifestyle will not suit another. Your dad is going for his pre-op assessment today. Perhaps he can use this time to get some of his questions answered and also to get comfortable himself that the treatment he has chosen is right for him. If he isn't sure he can always ask for a delay to the surgery and ask to speak to an oncologist or radiologist about other options. I.e. Brachytherapy or radiotherapy. It is an important decision he will have to live with for the rest of his life and not one to be rushed.

I can't speak for other treatment options but for surgery he is unlikely to be able to work for at least 4-6 weeks as he won't be insured to drive until he's had the all clear from a doctor. Much like if you have a c-section.

Edited by member 17 Feb 2017 at 09:37  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 17 Feb 2017 at 09:44

And driving for work, he may not be allowed to drive for 12 weeks - it will be up to his company insurers.

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

User
Posted 17 Feb 2017 at 09:57

All treatments can have varying degrees of side effects. As regards driving: surgery incontinence be that short or long term could be an issue; Hormone Therapy comes with fatigue; Radio Therapy itself is usually well tolerated but there is a need to fit in weekday daily short sessions (circa 20 - 37).

Click on member name to read thier profile



Ray

Edited by member 17 Feb 2017 at 10:01  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 22 Mar 2017 at 17:50
I have advance prostate cancer.i also had spinal cord compression . It's in my ribs and vertebrae. I was diagnosed 14/01/2016. But my attitude is make plans like I have booked a holiday,something to focus on. There is a lot of treatment out there, I expect to live for years. I do not want it to control my life. Good luck and take care.

 
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