Sorry to hear of your father's diagnosis. First thing is to stay calm. I was diagnosed on April 10, 2008 and I am in the midst of radiation treatment. (IMRT/IGRT) You can see from my signature that your father and I are fairly close in numbers. PSA 21.5 vs 17 and Gleason 7 (some 8 according to a second opinion) vs 8. My scans all came back negative except for some suspect lymph nodes in the pelvic area. For that reason I chose the radiation and have just completed the "full pelvic" portion and have 18 more focused on the prostate only. I am also on hormones (lupron depot 4 month). My PSA prior to beginning radiation and after 8 weeks on hormone had dropped to .82. So don't take a pass on the hormones if recommended.
You are correct that your father's numbers would indicate probability of spread. Look up "Parton Tables" at the John Hopkins site and you can input the information to get the range of probability.
Get all the facts on your father's case and do some independent research before deciding on a course of action. There are a lot of good resources National Institute of Health is a good one. Prostate Cancer Research Institute has a huge amount of data and information. A simple web search for "prostate cancer" will turn up many sites. American Cancer Society is also a good source. Do beware of the quacks promising a quick fix. This site is a good source of "been there done that" information as well as resources for other information. I have found it to be quite helpful in my decision making process. Another support site is prostatepointers.org. Good patient to patient as well as patient to physician resource. Do not be afraid to question your physicians and have a list of questions ready. Bring a notebook or tape recorder to the meetings to help keep your facts straight.
Keep a positive attitude and try not to dwell on the negative stuff too much. There is a lot of good medicine for curing and/or stalling this disease.
Take care and let us know how you and your father are doing.
PSA 21.5 (first and only test resulted from follow up visit to emergency room for kidney stone. first time for kidney stone too)
Gleason 4 + 3
DRE palpable tumor on left side
100% of 12 cores positive for PCa range 35% to 85%
Bone scan clear
Chest x ray clear
CT scan shows potential lymph node involvement in pelvic region
Started Casodex on May 2 and stopped on June 1, 2008
Lupron injection on May 15 and every four months for next two years
Started IMRT/IGRT on July 10, 2008. 45 treatments scheduled
First 25 to be full pelvic for a total dose of 45 Gray to lymph nodes.
Last 20 to prostate only. Total dose to prostate 81 Gray.