I always love to read your messages--they are always inspiring and/or thought provoking! It is hard to disagree with your general premise, but prostate cancer is not the only disease in which we haven't made enough progress in combating. For example, we haven't cured AIDS, but we have slowed down the death rate with new drugs (albeit taking those drugs to keep living can be unpleasant and does not guarantee how long you are going to live because such drugs may eventually become resistant to the disease in one's body). We really haven't accomplished miracles in breast cancer either. I befriended a women with breast cancer who I met while being treated for prostate cancer. Compared to my treatment, she has gone through hell in her treatment (i.e., chemo, removal of one breast, reconstruction of that breast with an artificial implant and x-ray radiation for several weeks). She is a very strong woman, but she still has unpleasant side effects and has difficulty in returning to her work which requires a lot of physical strength. This woman has no assurance that her breast cancer will not return.
I guess the bottom line is that there are no quick cures for most types of cancer and other horrible diseases, notwithstanding the research that is being done and the greater dollars sometimes available for research. In some respects, instead of fighting a war which is costing us mega zillions of dollars, having some of those dollars available for more intensive research for cancer would be gratifying. It is presently a very slow and painful process to readily find cures for cancer. I can't begin to tell you how emotional I get when I hear the stories on this forum of men who are dealing with advanced stages of prostate cancer. While I seem to be doing ok so far after my treatment, there is no guarantee that I will not have to deal with advanced PCa in the future. I get very tense every time I know that I am due for another PSA test. No matter which treatment we choose, the prospect of having to deal with advanced prostate cancer looms over all of us even if we reach the desired PSA nadir. Getting to the nadir gives us some comfort, but the question is always whether or not we will maintain the nadir for the rest of our lives.
As you probably know, Michael Milken (who established the Prostate Cancer Foundation) has worked tirelessly to step up research for PCa after he was stricken with it at a younger age. I don't believe that we would have been as far along in combating prostate cancer if it were not for some of his efforts. Luckily, he is a wealthy man and has been able to fund contributions and make contacts with people in high places to spur on more research than had been done in the past. Obviously it was also self-serving for him, because he didn't want to be a victim of PCa. Bravo to Michael!
While it does not appear that enough major advances have been made in combating advanced prostate cancer in the past ten years, we all have to admit that the rate of death from PCa have declined because the word has gotten out to men to be periodically tested for PCa (PSA and DRE), preferably starting at age 40 unless there is a family history of PCa which may dictate earlier testing. I very foolishly ignored my doctors advice to get a biopsy over three years sooner than I did. I waited until my PSA got to an alarming level which forced me to have the biopsy.
As you know, there continues to be new clinical drug trials for those with advanced prostate cancer. We can only hope that one of these drugs will offer more hope and promise in the future. We will continue to pray that some miracle cure will eventually be there (especially for those whose only hope right now is to embrace hormone treatment, which can have unpleasant side effects). While the hormones won't cure the cancer, it can starve it off for many years. When one of the members here recently posted a thread telling of the passing of her husband in his 50's from prostate cancer, I felt as if I had lost a member of my own family. It was very emotionally draining on me.
I, like many other PCa patients, get very upset when others will say that prostate cancer is no big deal when they hear of someone who has it. To those people, I would give them a life sentence of reading the postings in this forum. Yes, it may well be one of the cancers that is slower growing, can be treated and hopefully cured, but the side effects of such treatment can be nasty for some of us. It robs many of us of some of our joys of manhood that we had before PCa. It is no fun. We rise up, accept the challenge and do the best that we can do. Keeping a positive attitude is our only salvation at times.
Tony, I pray that a miracle will happen which will help you and others in your situation to be rid of this nasty disease. I have the greatest admiration and respect for you as a human being. Your positive and spiritual outlook on life, despite the challenges you have faced, are a wonderful inspiration to all of us. God Bless You!
-69 years young!
-29 core biopsy 9/27/06 at age 68
-PSA 7.1, Stage T1c, Gleason 7 (3+4) [less than 20% in one area], Gleason 6 [less than 5% in two other areas], Negative DRE, bone scan and Endorectal MRI.
-Completed 39 Proton radiation treatments 2/22/07-4/18/07.
-PSA History: 7.1 pre-treatment; post treatment: 2.1 (3 mo.), 2.4 (6 mo.), 1.7 (9 mo). Radiation oncologist said the 3-mo. drop of 70% exceeded expectations and the slight 6-mo. movement upwards was not a cause for concern now.
-The following is a link to My Journey With Prostate Cancer -- Proton RadiationTherapy.
Post Edited (pcdave) : 1/26/2008 1:04:15 PM (GMT-7)