Husband just diagnosed; wife is scared!

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 7/7/2010 8:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello, I am just introducing myself.

My 62-year-old husband was just diagnosed after 6 months of watchful waiting and believing it was just precancerous cells. He had a second biopsy, and the results were the same as the January biopsy. Good thing the test was sent to Mayo Clinic. His Gleason score was 6 (I think) and the cancer allegedly affects 15 percent of the prostate. It was diagnosed as intermediate. He's not the kind of person to get online and share, but I am and I think I will need some support as I am also dealing with a mother who has Alzheimers. I work full time - more than full time, actually. This is good as it will keep me occupied. I don't even know what my questions will be yet. But I visited the chat room and was encouraged to check in here. We went through a quadruple bypass and carotid artery surgery 7.5 years ago so I know I am up to it, but it is still daunting right now.

Thanks for being here.


Elite Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 7/7/2010 9:16 PM (GMT -6)   

Thanks for find us in the Chatroom, and then coming back here to start your own thread. You and your husband are most welcomed to joibann our little corner of the world. There are many fine men and women that post here.

Please keep us well posted on your husbands journey and progress, and feel free to ask all the questions you want. We are here to help you along the way.

Thanks again,

David in SC
Age: 57, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 7/08 12.3, 9/08 14.5, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 - 7/7 Positive, 40-90% Cancer, Gleason 4+3
Open RP: 11/08, Rht nerves saved, 4 days in hospt, on catheters for 63 days, 5th one out 1/09
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos margin
Incontinence:  1 Month     ED:  Non issue at any point post surgery, no problem post SRT
Post Surgery  PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12, 4/8 .04, next one:  July
Latest:  7/9 cath #6 - 41 days, 8/9 2nd corr surgery, 8/9 cath #7 - 38 days, mapped  9/9, 10/1 - 3rd corr. surgery - SP cath, 10/5 - 11/27 IMRT SRT 39 sess/72 gys ,cath #8 33 days, Cath #9 35 days, Cath #10 43 days, 1/19 - Corr Surgery #4,  Caths #11 and #12 ,Cath #11 - 21 days,  Cath #12 - 41 days, 3/2- Corr Surgery #5, Cath #13 - 4 days, Cath #14- 27 days, Cath #15 - 26 days, Cath #16 - 31 days, Cath #17 - 39 days, 7/2 - Corr Surgery #6, 7/2 - Caths #18 & #19

Ed C. (Old67)
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 2460
   Posted 7/7/2010 9:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to this forum and sorry you had to be here. It sounds that your husband's stats are not too bad so you have a lot of time to get second opinions from Urologists, oncologists and radiation oncologists so you can learn about the various options available to you. There are many tests available to your husband that can be done to to get a better diagnosis of your his cancer. Dr Walsh's book on prostate cancer is good source of infomation.
Age: 67 at Dx on 12/30/08
PSA 9/05 1.15; 8/06 1.45; 12/07 2.41; 8/08 3.9; 11/08 3.5 free PSA 11%
2 cores out of 12 were positive Gleason (4+4) and (4+5)
Negative CT scan and bone scan done on 1/16
Robotic surgery performed 2/9/09 Dr Fagin, Austin TX
Prostate weighed 57 grams size:5.2 x 5.0 x 4.9 cm
Posterior lateral lesions measuring 1.5 x 1.4 x 1.0 cm showing focal capsular penetration over a distance of 3mm in circumference.
Prostatic adenocarciroma accounts for approx. 10-20% of the hemisphere.
Gleason 4+4
both nerve bundles removed,
pT3a Nx Mx, Negative margins
seminal vesicles clean, lymph nodes: not dissected
continent after 5 months
2 months PSA test 4/7/09 result <0.1
5 months PSA test 7/9/09 result <0.1
8 months PSA test 10/9/09 result <0.1
11 months PSA test 1/21/10 result 0.004
14 months PSA test 4/19/10 result 0.005

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 3887
   Posted 7/7/2010 9:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Mimi, welcome to the place nobody wants to be..This will be just another bump in the road. Get a copy of Dr. Patrick Walsh's "Surviving Prostate Cancer" and get your husband and yourself up to speed on the battle you are facing. You have many options and plenty of time to make a decision about treatment. Give us a PSA number and the group here can bat a few things around and help you keep your treatment team honest..

Again, welcome to the board...
Age today: 68. Married, 6', 215 pounds, active, no health issues.
PSA at age 55: 3.5, DRE negative. Advice, "Keep an eye on it".
PSA at age 58: 4.5
PSA at age 61: 5.2
PSA at age 64: 7.5, DRE "Abnormal"
PSA at age 65: 8.5, DRE " normal", biopsy, 12 core, negative...
PSA at age 66 9.0 DRE "normal", BPH, Finesteride. (Proscar)
PSA at age 67 4.5 DRE "normal" second biopsy, negative.
PSA at age 67.5 5.6, DRE "normal" U-doc worried..
PSA at age 68, 7.0, third biopsy positive for cancer in 4 cores, 3 cores Gleason 6, one core Gleason 9. Finesteride discontinued, still no urinary symptoms, never had any..From age 55 to 65 I had no health insurance.

I have a date with the robo surgeon on Sept 3 but I'm keeping my options open. A "top" radiation oncologist here in Denver, equipped with the latest IMRT/IGRT/RapidArc machine says he can do better by me..

DS Can
Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 195
   Posted 7/7/2010 9:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to healingwell.  You will get plenty of support here.  When you have a question just send it our way.
A diagnosis of Prostate Cancer is not what anyone wants to hear, especially not for a loved-one.  Then there is a bit of shock - now what?, what if...? Be assured, there is a future. What you need to do now is research and educate you and your husband.  The best choice is made by making an informed choice.  Every person here has been through the process in one way or another, some more involved than others.  Most will say to find an experienced doc that you trust.  The best thing you can do is to support and encourage your husband in the decision-making process.  Don't force any treatment on him.  This needs to be a decision that he is comfortable with. 
Best wishes for successful treatment.  I look forward to your being around for a long time. 
PSA Jan'07:1.2,  Jan'08:1.9,  Jan'09:2.5
BIOPSY Feb'09  PCa DX, age 52
Right: 3+3=6, 3/6 cores 10% involved,PNI-Y
Left:  3+3=6, 1/7 cores <5% involved,PNI-N
LARP April 9,2009 nerve sparing. Final pathology:
GS 3+4=7, Margins uninvolved, 2 lymph nodes negative
Catheter 8 days, Last pad May 2,2009
latest PSA: April 8,2010 <0.1

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 990
   Posted 7/7/2010 9:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to the club that hates to get new members. First -- take a deep breath, cancer is a very frightening thing but PC is not nearly as frightening. The chance that your husband will die from prostate cancer is still well under 10% (I think the latest statistics say 5%) Given your husband's low Gleason number there is plenty of time to learn and there are many good choices for treatment. You might want to look at the permanent links at the top of the topics list. There are many good sources of information and you may want to get one of the recommended books.

Everyone here has had that "hit up the side of the head" feeling that comes with a diagnosis and there is a strong recognition that, for a couple, it is not HIS cancer but OUR cancer. You will find both men and women her who will stand with you and support you.

For right now, slow down and learn about the options. Ask questions. Share feelings. Also try to remember that cancer does not define your whole life together -- relax, find joy in what you do together.
Age at diagnosis 66, PSA 5.5
Biopsy 12/08 12 cores, 8 positive
Gleason 3+4=7
CAT scan, Bone scan 1/09 both negative.

Robotic surgery 03/03/09 Catheter Out 03/08/09
Pathology: Lymph nodes & Seminal vesicles negative
Margins positive, Capsular penetration extensive Gleason 4+3=7
6 weeks: 1 pad/day, 1 pad/night -- mostly dry at night.
10 weeks: no pad at night -- slight leakage day/1 pad.
3 mo. PSA 0.0 - now light pads
6 mo. PSA 0.00 -- 1 light pad/day
9 mo. PSA 0.00 -- 1 light pad/day ED remains
12 mo. PSA 0.00 -- still one light pad and ED

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 2692
   Posted 7/7/2010 10:31 PM (GMT -6)   
It would help us to help you by asking your doctor for a written copy of the biopsy reports and the pathology reports.

You can then make a signature page in your profile like you see a lot of us have. Keeps you from repeating yourslef, and it allows us to see some of the nuances of your reports.

If it is a Gleason 6, you can probably take a deep breath and relax a little. That is a good number, and you most likely will have many options, some non-invasive, some invasive. Some of it may depend on your husband's physical condition from previous surgeries etc.

Welcome to HW. YOu are amongst friends including many wives who speak on behalf of their husbands.
Age 58, PSA 4.47 Biopsy - 2/12 cores , Gleason 4 + 5 = 9
Da Vinci, Cleveland Clinic  4/14/09   Nerves spared, but carved up a little.
0/23 lymph nodes involved  pT3a NO MX
Catheter and 2 stints in ureters for 2 weeks .
Neg Margins, bladder neck negative
Living the Good Life, cancer free  6 week PSA  <.03
3 month PSA <.01 (different lab)
5 month PSA <.03 (undetectable)
6 Month PSA <.01
1 pad a day, no progress on ED.  Trimix injection
No pads, 1/1/10,  9 month PSA < .01
1 year psa (364 days) .01

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 1267
   Posted 7/7/2010 11:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mimi, I echo those who have said welcome, but sorry you need to be here.

A well respected U.S. urologist/oncologist once told me he thought there should be some other name for Gleason 6 than cancer. It was cancer, but it wasn't a nasty cancer. If your husband really is 6 --- and you need to get a second pathologist's opinion to confirm this --- then, even if you never did anything about the cancer there's a reasonable chance he'd die with it, from something else, at a ripe old age. Treat it (surgery, seeds, radiation, HIFU, etc.) and the odds are huge that it will never bother him again.

Geezer said there was only a five to ten percent chance with his stats he'd die of it. And if he does, it will be a long long time in the future. As stressful as it is to have a 5/10 % chance of dying of this cancer, at his age of 62 I make so bold as to suggest that what should really worry you isn't this cancer you know about --- it's the cancer, the coronary artery disease, the Alzheimer's, etc. you don't know about. And, speaking of Alzheimer's, as I understand it, in 10 years he's got more than a 10% risk of having some dementia. Now that's scary! (Note: I may have the numbers wrong as this comes from a pamphlet delivered to the house as part of a fund raising drive, not exactly a peer reviewed study.)

Point I'm trying to make isn't to minimize the risk, and the issues, you and he face from PCa ---- it's that when you get the diagnosis you focus on the PCa to the exclusion of all the other risks to life that just being in your sixties presents.

Put into perspective, the PCa risk, if indeed a second pathologist confirms Gleason 6, isn't something you need to put the hospital onto speed dial for right now.

The issues are A) What really is the situation? (second opinion) B) Will he treat, or do a watchful waiting program? and C) If he elects to treat, which treatment will he do?

As others have noted the wives, daughters and PCa guys here are always available to help.

Sheldon AKA Sleepless
Age 67 in Apil '09 at news of 4 of 12 cores positive T2B and Gleason 3 + 3 and 5% to 25% PSA 1.5
Re-read of slides in June said Gleason 3 + 4 same four cores 5% to 15%
June 29 daVinci prostatectomy, Dr. Eric Estey, at Royal Alexandra Hospital Edmonton one night stay
From "knock out" to wake up in recovery less than two hours.  Actual surgery 70 minutes
Flew home to Winnipeg on July 3 after 5 nights in Ramada Inn  ---  perfect recovery spot!
Catheter out July 9
Final pathology is 3 + 4 Gleason 7, clear margins, clear nodes, T2C, sugeron says report is "excellent"
Oct 1st 09 -- dry at night, during day some stress issues.
Oct 31st padless 24/7 
First post op PSA Sept 09  less than 0.02
PSA on Oct 23 test again less than 0.02
PSA on Jan 8 less than 0.02
PSA on April 9 less than 0.02 

Hope and Prayer
Regular Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 7/7/2010 11:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mimi,
Welcome to such a wonderful group of people that I have gotten such strength and wisdom from. Please do not fret. In 1999, my Dad was diagnosed with PC at age 58 with Gleason 6 as well. He decided on seeds and is doing so well. PSA is still undetectable. My parents just celebrated their 40th in Punta Cana! They had so much fun. Whether you decide on seeds or not, I know your husband will have a good outcome. I also recommend reading up on Dr. Myers and getting his book as well.
Boyfriend dx at age 44 with Stage 4 PC on 11/09. Gleason 4+5, 11 of 12 cores +; PSA 51.34
DaVinci surgery on 12/09

Gleason 4+5 confirmed. Lymph and vesicle invasion, right nerves spared.
pT3c N1 Mx
HT: Casedox and Lupron started 1/10

PSA 1/13/10 23.15 2/8/10 .37 3/18/10 <.05 5/14/10 <.02

Bone metastasis

Radiation: 42 sessions ending 6/10

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1804
   Posted 7/8/2010 6:20 AM (GMT -6)   
Mimi, I was in your position 2 1/2 years ago when the urologist called to tell us that my husband had prostate cancer. Yes, hearing the word "cancer" scares the crap out of you...that's a natural first reaction. The one thing that you will learn with PCa is that there is no "one size fits all" modality. Each and every situation is based on many factors and there's just no way to know the exact nature of the disease before treatment. A biopsy is a guess at best of what is going on inside.

With your husband's initial statistics, it would appear that he has options for treatment. A bit more information - PSA at biopsy and for 3 years prior (to see what kind of velocity we're talking about) would help. If you do not yet have it, make sure you get a copy of the path report from the biopsy...that will give you more information than just a Gleason score and % involvement. Things to look for are number of cores taken, % of cancer in each positive core, whether or not perineural invasion was identified, etc. In our case, the urologist drew us a diagram of John's prostate and used an X to indicate where he took the samples. Since one of them was very close to the edge of the gland, the surgeon knew before going in that he would have to cut a wider than necessary margin of tissue around that area.

What part of the country do you live in? Are you near or in a large city with access to a major hospital/cancer center? Since it doesn't appear that your husband needs to make a treatment decision right away (and I stress the word "appear"), you likely have time to meet with doctors in different specialities to decide what treatment could work best for him. I say "appear" because your post states that your husband's cancer is intermediate which usually means a Gleason score of 7 (either 3+4 or 4+3). That's why you need a copy of the biopsy report as you can have different Gleason scores for the positive samples but the highest Gleason score is the one that counts.

Stay with us Mimi ... we'll get you through this.
Husband diagnosed in 2/2008 at age 57 with stage T1c. Robotic surgery performed 3/2008. Stage upgraded to T3a (solitary focus of extraprostatic extension). Perineural tumor infiltration present. Apex margin, bladder neck and SVs negative. Final Gleason 3+4. PSA: 0.0 til July 2009. August 2009 - 0.1, September 0.3, October back to 0.0, December 0.0, March 2010 0.0. Next PSA in 6 months. Thank you God!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 3149
   Posted 7/8/2010 6:39 AM (GMT -6)   

(rewritten)-  Question getting ct and bone scans, in your case very unnecessary, they will likely be pitched as necessary.  You should be able to defeat this beast with low stats.

Best to you.

Youth is wasted on the Young-(W.C. Fields)

Post Edited (zufus) : 7/8/2010 5:55:23 AM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 7/8/2010 6:44 AM (GMT -6)   
Dear forum friends:

Thank you for the kind welcome. I was not expecting so many messages.

I bought the Walsh book when my husband's PSA was high, back in January, and he's been reading it. The diagnosis we got was a second opinion as the first (after two biopsies) showed pre-cancerous cells.

Even though we were a little prepared, I am still in shock. Much of my personal time is spend trying to help my mother with her Alzheimers and another condition, and I was already drained from the weekend. Once things balance out a bit, perhaps it will all fall into perspective.

Thank you for your words of reassurance and advice. I feel better already, and constantly amazed and delighted at the kindness and caring of people.

We live in Northern Wisconsin. Green Bay an hour away. I don't have too much faith in the local health care system.

Thank you all,


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 2243
   Posted 7/8/2010 7:10 AM (GMT -6)   

Welcome Mimi,

Glad that you are here as you have a lot on your plate. Hopefully they have still caught your husbands PCa early and you can choose the best possible treatment for him. Taking care of your Mother is also stressful as we are doing that with my mother and recently my father passed away. But I have five other sibling to help share in the responsibility. Sometimes it still feels overwhelming as we all still work as well. So there is stress and friction but we wrestle with it and come back to what is important and that is my Mother. But I still must take care of myself as my recovery is ongoing. So please take care of you in all of this, and keep us posted.


Dx with PCA 12/08 2 out of 12 cores positive 4.5 psa
59 yo when diagnosed, 61 yo 2010
Robotic surgery 5/09 Atlanta, Ga
Catheter out after 10 days
Gleason upgraded to 3+5, volume less than 10%
2 pads per day, 1 depends but getting better,
 started ED tx 7/17, slow go
Post op dx of neuropathy
T2C left lateral and left posterior margins involved
3 months psa.01, 6 month psa.4, 6 1/2 month psa.5 on 11/28/10
Starting IMRT on 1/18/10, Completed 39 tx at 70 gys on 3/12/10
6 week Post IMRT PSA .44 a drop from .5 but maybe more
Great family and friends

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 208
   Posted 7/8/2010 7:42 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mimi,

Welcome and sorry that you have to join our club. I ,too, am the wife of a pc patient who hasn't had treatment yet. You'll get lots of great advice and caring people on this forum. Though I don't post much I do drop by here everyday too read the posts-it helps me feel connectede to other people going thru the same thing.

Husband diagnosed 3/10
Age 56, PSA 4.7, free 7.6%
Biopsy 5 of 10 cores positve-all right side-25% to 57%
Gleason 6
DaVinci surgery with Dr. Vip Patel scheduled 8/9/10

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 7/8/2010 10:39 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you all for giving me some action steps and some reassurance. I'm online a lot so I will keep checking back, lositng in some areas and lurking in others. Much to learn yet.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 990
   Posted 7/8/2010 2:33 PM (GMT -6)   
When my father broke his leg he had it set in Northern Wisconsin and things turned out fine, but when he was diagnosed with PC he went to Milwaukee for treatment. So I would agree with you that for PCa local might not be best. You are also within range of the Mayo Clinic -- perhaps that is more high powered than you need, but worth checking out since you will find a concentration of specialists there.

By the way, my father broke his leg by falling off a bar stool -- he was changing a light bulb at the time but within the family, the re-telling sort of dropped that detail.
Age at diagnosis 66, PSA 5.5
Biopsy 12/08 12 cores, 8 positive
Gleason 3+4=7
CAT scan, Bone scan 1/09 both negative.

Robotic surgery 03/03/09 Catheter Out 03/08/09
Pathology: Lymph nodes & Seminal vesicles negative
Margins positive, Capsular penetration extensive Gleason 4+3=7
6 weeks: 1 pad/day, 1 pad/night -- mostly dry at night.
10 weeks: no pad at night -- slight leakage day/1 pad.
3 mo. PSA 0.0 - now light pads
6 mo. PSA 0.00 -- 1 light pad/day
9 mo. PSA 0.00 -- 1 light pad/day ED remains
12 mo. PSA 0.00 -- still one light pad and ED

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 7/8/2010 7:59 PM (GMT -6)   
I've learned a lot here today. Thank you.

Another piece of good luck: An older male acquaintance dropped by my office for another reason today. He recently had both PC and heart surgery. He gave me some good advice. It's been months since I've seen him. I'm convinced some sort of divine intervention was at work here.

In times of trouble, be grateful for these little miracles.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 1015
   Posted 7/9/2010 1:53 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mimi,

A hearty welcome to you and hubby tongue

We're sorry for what you're going through, but so glad you're here !

This is a great forum full of caring folks who aim to support each other, and now you're making it a larger team. Thank you.

And, thank you for being such a good support to your husband.

Keep asking questions and learning !

All the best,

Surgery: Da Vinci; July 31, 2007; 54 on surgery day;
Pathology: PSA: 4.3; Gleason: 3+3=6; T2a; Confined to Prostate;
Post RP PSAs: 09/'07 <0.04; 12/'07 <0.04; 03/'08 <0.04;
06/'08 <0.04; 12/'08 <0.04; 06/'09 =0.06; 09/'09 <0.04; 12/'09 =0.05;
3/'10 <0.04; Latest PSA 6/'10 <0.01

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 179
   Posted 7/9/2010 7:53 AM (GMT -6)   
Welcome and best wishes to you and your husband.
63 yo
V10.46 Dx Feb-09

RRP 5-5-09

No adverse SE

PSA 6-19-09  -0-

PSA 9-21-09  -0-

1 year PSA 5-3-10  -0-

Thriving, not just surviving!

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