Had my 6 week check up yesterday (at the 7 1/2 week mark) to participate in an incontinence trial. As a reward, they took some blood for a PSA check. Being a newbie I thought it would take a week to get the results back, but they "cooked it on the spot" as the doctor said. Took about 10 minutes. I have no detectable PSA. (!) But I keep being told that the 3 check mark is the most important.
I am working with some doctors affiliated with the George Washington University hospital in Washington, DC - so they do a lot of research and analysis. These guys generally challenge every stat that Dr. Walsh originally published in his book. They admit he is a pioneer in the prostate cancer field, and has made many significant contributions, but nobody has been able to duplicate his "overly optimistic" stats concerning incontinence and sexual function. A lot depends on how each function is defined. They told me Walsh's definition of continence is one or two pads a day. Their definition of continence is no leaking - ever. And Walsh's book talks about having a "satisfactory sex life" which can mean practially anything.
So they are measuring the weight of used pads against the same number of unused pads during the previous 24 hours. They are going to halt this trial at 95 patients and they are almost there. At 6 weeks the average guy is leaking 3/4 of a pound of urine. I am leaking a little over a pound. They say they are seeing the most significant improvement between 3 months and 6 months - but that improvement can happen for up to a year. They will not talk to anybody about any kind of surgical help for incontinence until well after the one year mark.
This team is led by Dr. Jason Engel - he of the NY Times article posted elsewhere on this board - who essentially said the real truth about sexual function is more grim than the Walsh book may indicate.
I also get the impression that there are a lot (?) of urology practices out there gathering their own data, and none of them want to share too much. Probably because if Dr. A has better functional stats than Dr. B, who are you going to go to? So this makes gathering national data about prostate surgery recovery difficult.
March 2006: PSA 2.5
Dec 2007: PSA taken for insurance application. I did not see the results until late Jan '08 - after I was rejected. Their lab said PSA 4.5. PSA again in Feb '08: 3.7.
March 2008: Biopsy. Gleason 7 (4+3) 12 cores taken. 5 on the left side were cancerous and the 6th did not look good.
May 5, 2008: Da Vinci robotic laparoscopy at GW Hospital, Washington DC.
Post op: Gleason 9 (4+5). 15% of prostate involved. Negative margins. Lymph nodes and associated glands all appear to be cancer free.