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Dad has just been diagnosed with small cell prostrate cancer - immunotherapy?

Posted 01 Jan 2019 at 00:21

Hi everyone, 

Unfortunately my Dad was diagnosed with prostrate cancer in March 2018. No biopsy was carried out (he was 83 at the time and in excellent health) and the recommended course of treatment was hormone therapy. 

My dad's condition declined from March onwards and in mid November he was admitted to Norfolk and Norwich hospital with a severe urine infection. After about two weeks he had a procedure to remove what was at the time described as a benign growth from his bladder. We were told to expect him to go to rehab, and perhaps home. 

Sadly my dad's condition has continued to deteriorate. Yesterday we were told that he only has days left. Today I found out that rather than being benign the growth in the bladder was actually small cell prostrate cancer. As dad did not have a biopsy it seems that this small cell variety is what he has been suffering from all the time, which also accounts for its very fast advance.

I was wondering if anyone here knows if any immotherapy treatments - such as Provenge - work with small cell prostrate cancer? 

Thanks for any thoughts you have. 


Posted 01 Jan 2019 at 01:56
Immunotherapy is still a trial treatment and not generally available to prostate cancer patients as the research evidence does not yet exist. There has been some research in Poland and Germany on immunotherapy for prostate cancer but I haven’t read of any for small cell PCa. Even if it did exist, it seems your dad is unlikely to live long enough for you to apply to any trials, and he may not be able to travel.

I am so sorry that you have had this news which must have been a shock; SCC is very rare and very aggressive. We believe my father-in-law had a mix of adenocarcinoma and small cell - he went from well to dead in just under 48 hours.

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

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