My stats were fairly close to yours with my PSA going from 4.28 to 6.8 in less than a year so I decided to not go down the AS route and address the PC. I had Pencil Beam Proton Therapy at MDAnderson Cancer Center in Houston. The Pencil Beam facility at MDA has even more precision than the other forms of Proton Therapy (scattered beam) that are available at the other proton centers in the US and I guess, is even more more "overkill" since they do all treat additional margins (5-10mm) around the prostate and seminal vesicles. Why do they do it? Two reasons most likely: One, from what I've learned, there is really no way to tell if there are smaller micro scale clusters of cancer that are "waiting to bloom" and treating the entire area gives better outcomes for a larger population. Which brings up #2: The Proton facilities are very, very expensive and take a very long time to build and validate - the owners (investors) of these facilities do not want to do focal applications because they need their "cure" rates to be as high as possible to continue to get insurance companies to cover the procedure. When I went through it earlier this spring, I was pressured a bit to also start hormone therapy prior to the protons, which I believe was another way to hedge their bets and increase "cure" rates. Since I did not have and enlarged prostate, my PSA was fairly low and the tumor was located only in one area, there was not any real benefit for me to add HT to the PT (as validated through any clinical trial that they could cite to me - and I researched all the trials that I could find).
As far as side effects for me, I really had none, outside of some fatigue and a brief period of very minor urgency. I have had no ED issues, other than the fact that I started having "dry" orgasms about
2/3rds of the way through the treatments (8 weeks). I assumed that this would continue (dry), but now 8 weeks out some ejack has returned (10-20%?), which makes me believe that my prostate/sem vess are starting to produce a bit again? Anyway, I met a lot of fellow PC patients down there during my treatments and I did not run across anyone who had any issues with rectal bleeding or heard anything about
bloody balloons. I did meet one gentleman who had returned for his 6 month follow up and was telling other patients that the docs were "full of it" when they say that most men retain normal sexual function as he had not had any since that start of his therapy. Of course, he was also still on Lupron, was about
70+ and did not say if he had issues prior to treatment.
I do not get my first post treatment PSA for another 4 weeks and I won't really know how well it worked for me until I get my 6 mo test, but at this point I am very, very happy that I went to MD Anderson and I would recommend that newly dxed patients at least research PT prior to making any treatment decisions.
Waiting but no longer worrying.
03/28/11 PSA 4.28
12/06/2011 +biop 4/10 (3@5%, 1@20%); 3+3; left lobe
dx PCa 12/07/11
Neg Bone scan
01/19/12 PSA 6.8
3/12 Switch care to MDA in Houston
Biop Path slides upgraded to 3+4 G7
Endorectal MRI indicated tumor mass contained in capsule
03/14/12 PSA 6.2
04/17/12 Started PBT at MDA
06/08/12 Completed PBT
No ED (just dry now)
No lasting Urinary SE (very slight burn at last squirt)