New Member - Spouce Might Have PC

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2011
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 6/17/2011 10:12 AM (GMT -6)   
My 43-year-old husband has apparently been having symptoms of PCa for over a year. He ignored them because he just assumed that they were side effects of his other conditions. He has nerve damage in his lumbar spine as a result of spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease, and lumbar nerve damage can sometimes cause urinary issues. However, when he recently saw a list of all the symptoms of PCa and discovered that he had every single one (including blood in the semen, which freaked me out), he went to his regular physician, told her the symptoms, and had a PSA test. It was 6. His urinalysis was normal. They referred him to a urologist (is that even the appropriate referral?) for further examination and testing. The earliest they could get him in is two weeks from now. This stinks on so many levels. But one particularly depressing aspect is that he was just starting to get his life back. He has been on full SSDI disability due to his constant pain from his spine, and in April he had a spinal cord stimulator implanted in his back that has helped his pain immensely. He was just starting to look for jobs so he could get off disability, and now this. I don't know how I can wait 2 weeks for this appointment. Also, he can't have an MRI due to his implant. Does this affect the ease with which he can be diagnosed? What do y'all think the odds are that he really does have cancer?

Post Edited By Moderator (Steve n Dallas) : 6/17/2011 11:01:58 AM (GMT-6)

Steve n Dallas
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 4818
   Posted 6/17/2011 11:03 AM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to the site that no one wants to join.
So glad you found us... We really can't and try to avoid guessing. Did the GP also do a rectal exam?
A PSA test results definantly require more testing... Just try to relax till the visit with the URO.

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2011
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 6/17/2011 11:16 AM (GMT -6)   
No. She offered to do one, but she said that the results wouldn't change her treatment plan (which was basically just the PSA, urinalysis, and referral to URO), so my husband declined, figuring if what she was going to do would be the same either way, what was the point? I suspect this is the drawback to having a female GP when you're a man. He probably would have gone ahead with it if the doc had been male. Grrrrrrrr......

Hubby insists that 2 weeks isn't going to make a difference one way or the other even if it is aggressive cancer. But can't days count when it's aggressive?

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 318
   Posted 6/17/2011 11:30 AM (GMT -6)   
BeCalm, Welcome and sorry you have to be here. PCa is usually slow growing so a couple of weeks till the Uro appt. shouldn't matter either way. There doesn't appear to be anything in your story that would indicate it would be an aggressive form, if in fact he has it at all. The GP may have been able to tell more from a DRE but maybe not. Either way, the plan is the same. Ultimately, the Uro will need to do a biopsy to determine if there is PCa present. If it were positive, then further tests like CT Scans and Bone Scans (MRIs are not usually required so that should not be a problem) may be ordered but cross that bridge if and when you come to it. For now, try to model your screen name and "be calm"'s going to be okay. You may want to start reading up on this, and if you do, Patrick Walsh's "Surviving Prostate Cancer" is a good starting point.  There are many other good books as well.  Best of luck to you and your husband.
-Bob R.
Age 53- PSA 2/11 3.5
4/21/11 BX Path Report: 3 of 12 Left PCa , 3+3, 3+4, 4+4
4/29/11 Received PCa DX, G-8
5/18/11 open RP Performed, Right nerve bundle spared
5/24/11 Post Op Path Report: G-7(4+3) 7%, pT3a N0MX, EPE, +PNI, + Left margin, -SVI
6/1/11 Cath removed, Incontinence-No, ED-Yes.
6/16/2011 First Post-Op PSA: <0.1

Post Edited (rcroller) : 6/17/2011 11:36:15 AM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2011
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 6/17/2011 11:48 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks so much for the warm welcome and support. It's particularly difficult because my husband doesn't want to talk about it. My fear that it's aggressive is based on a combination of the facts that he has ALL the symptoms, and his age--don't younger people often have more aggressive forms? I'm trying very hard to Be Calm (hence the screen name), but it isn't easy.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 6855
   Posted 6/17/2011 12:48 PM (GMT -6)   
The referral to a urologist is the proper path.
I was discussing the DRE with my GP at last visit. He is of the opinion that it is better done by a urologist when it goes from an annual physical to a diagnostic situation - no point in having two sets of fingers up there when it is the urologist's opinion that counts.
Welcome to HW, and do try to be calm. I was in the same boat, and worrying did nothing to improve my situation. It is too early to assume the worst, or anything, for that matter.
DaVinci 10/2009
My adjuvant IGRT journey (2010) -

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2011
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 6/17/2011 1:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks so much. It's good to know that the DRE just by the urologist may be the better path.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 3596
   Posted 6/17/2011 1:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Early stage PC seldom has ANY symptoms, and the PSA of 6 points to very early stage if it's PC at all...The two weeks is the normal time frame for specialist appointments..The urologist will want to do a biopsy of the prostate which is a little unpleasant and a little uncomfortable, but it's over in 20 minutes. That will be done during his NEXT visit, not this one..

Obtain a copy of the Walsh book rcroller mentioned and learn all you need to know about PC... And stop worrying! It doesn't accomplish ANYTHING!

Best of luck to you...
Age 68.
PSA age 55: 3.5, DRE normal.
age 58: 4.5
61: 5.2
64: 7.5, DRE "Abnormal"
65: 8.5, " normal", biopsy, 12 core, negative...
66 9.0 "normal", 2ed biopsy, negative, BPH, Proscar
67 4.5 DRE "normal"
68 7.0 3rd biopsy positive, 4 out of 12, G-6,7, 9
RALP Sept 3 2010, pos margin, one pos vesicle nodes neg. Post Op PSA 0.9 SRT, HT. 2-15-'11 PSA 0.0

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 6855
   Posted 6/17/2011 2:04 PM (GMT -6)   
My book list also includes:
Slightly less technical than the Walsh book, but updated in 2010, is "Dr. Peter Scardino's Prostate Book" (2nd edition).
I've read both, and find Scardino's book a good alternative. In the new edition there are more useful diagrams, and some areas that I though were vague in the older edition are improved. Also, being a 2010 edition, some of the factual details are more up to date.
Walsh is more brutally clear on some points.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 1298
   Posted 6/17/2011 2:04 PM (GMT -6)   
The urologist will probably do a DRE, take a history and schedule a biopsy and ultrasound of the prostate.
The biopsy sends needles through the rectum to get core samples of the prostate for pathologists to analyze. It is a discomfort but necessary.
Many men recover after diagnosis and most will live a long time after diagnosis. Most men diagnosed die from other causes. But there are aggressive cases that can kill. Treatment can cause side effects like incontinence and ED for some.
Good luck.
Gleason (3+4) 7, PSA 5 in November 2011
cryoablation in January 2011.

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2011
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 6/17/2011 2:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you all so much. It's very helpful to know what to expect. If he does have a cancer diagnosis, I will get the books.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 6855
   Posted 6/17/2011 4:41 PM (GMT -6)   
You might check at your local library for the books. If they are available, you can get a basic start on the terminology, and it might help to choose one to buy if needed.
They have both at my library, but they are almost always on a waiting list.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 115
   Posted 6/17/2011 10:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi BeCalm. I'm another wife on this forum. My husband was diagnosed at age 50 and had NO symptoms. He doesn't talk about it, either. We've had cousins call with all kinds of symptoms, they were fine. Hopefully your husband will have a few tests and get a clean bill of health.

Either way - you will find this forum very helpful with lots of kind people to share your concerns with.
Mr GFM's statistics:
Age 50 at diagnosis
PSA History: 10-05 1.3, 01-07 2.09
8-07 - PSA at Biopsy: 2.26
2 of 12 positive
Gleason Score 3+3 6
11-07 - Robotic surgery hospitalized overnight.
Path Report:
Prostatic adenocardinoma, Gleasons 3+3+6, moderately differentiated
Percent of Prostate involved by tumor 5%
Staging pT2c pNx pMx
Margins free of tumor - no further invasion or extension
Catheter out in about 9 days. No incontinence.
Back to work in 2 weeks
ED - resolved. No meds needed at this time.
Post Op PSA: 03-08 0.01, 10-08 0.02, 7-09 0.04, 1-10 0.04, 7-10 0.04

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 990
   Posted 6/18/2011 1:32 AM (GMT -6)   
First of all, welcome to the group that hates to get new members

Prostate cancer tends to be very slow slow so a wait of two weeks will make no difference. With a PSA of 6 your husband is in a group which needs further evaluation, but is in no way critical.

Take a deep breath, the "symptoms" of PCa could also be a urinary tract infection. Your husband's uro will help to sort them out.

By the way, let me encourage you to go to your husband's appointments. Two pair of ears are better than one. I started out as a "brave little soldier" which is to say, "jerk" When I started to have my wife come to my appointments things greatly improved in terms of the questions we asked and the information we took away.
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
16 mo PSA 0.00 -- light pad just for security, ED still an issue

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2011
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 6/18/2011 8:49 PM (GMT -6)   
I am definitely going to show this to my husband, because I very much want to go to the appointments with him, but I'm not sure he'd be comfortable with that. As it happens, I've gone with him for appointments related to other conditions, and he has usually appreciated it. I think maybe because his mother is a nurse, he tends not to question doctors as much as he should. I do. Unfortunately, he is very embarrassed about this, and I don't think he'd let me go with him to the urologist. I've hesitated asking him so far, because once he makes his mind up about something he doesn't like to change it, and if he says no, I don't want to spend the next two weeks trying to convince him to change his mind.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 6855
   Posted 6/18/2011 8:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Have him take a small voice recorder. With the doctor's consent, it can be very valuable to be able to listen again to the conversation after the shock wears off.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 407
   Posted 6/21/2011 10:09 PM (GMT -6)   
What do I think?  Your husband should take the advice of medical professionals he trusts.  Two week is not long to wait for an appointment.  In fact, it's a short wait for a good Urologist.  Your concerns may not be his.  Encourage your husband to read and participate in the discussions here.  Or, back off.
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