An excellent thread, SpecialLady.
There's another way to look at this. It's useful to look at the historical treatment of PCa in the relatively recent past and realize that, as frustrating as modern progress may seem to be at times, things are worlds
better than they were even just a few decades ago.
What if we were still living in the 1950s, or even the 1960s? Well, there would be no PSA tests. No Gleason scores. No MRI imaging. No computer tomography (or barely any medical computer anything for that matter). No bone density scans as done today, or other types of scans that we take for granted today.
What usually happened back then was that a man would see his doctor only when he began to have pain, such as urinary issues or lower back pain. He would go in, not at all suspecting cancer ("Must be arthritis or something!"). His doctor would give him a DRE and record his symptoms, and that was about
it! Then came the diagnosis, based on an assessment very primitive by modern standards, and followed by a treatment regimen that was even more primitive.
Surgery was available back then, but without the backups and modern techniques that we enjoy today. Computer assisted surgery? Science fiction back then. Radiation? It was available back then, but it used a shotgun approach that resulted in surrounding burned tissue and all the problems which that caused.
Relevant medications were but a fraction of what we have available today. And for a while, orchiectomy was a standard treatment
for prostate cancer!
Depressing outcomes were the inevitable results of such treatments. In 1950, the five year survival rate for PCa was only 43 percent!
In the 1976 film "The Shootist," actor John Wayne plays an aging Old West gunfighter dying of cancer, who chooses to go out in one last gunfight with six guns blazing, rather than die from the disease. At one point in the film he visits his doctor, played by Jimmy Stewart, and they discuss the symptoms of his cancer, which make it sound very much
like the cancer he has is indeed PCa.
This doctor-patient scene is supposed to be taking place around the year 1900, but as you watch it below bear in mind that the very same conversation, almost word for word, could have taken place in doctors' offices everywhere for decades
following the year 1900. That's how little progress advanced during that time. www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/303885/Shootist-The-Movie-Clip-Doc-Hostetler.html
(Close the video immediately following the doctor office scene, as the video goes on to show other scenes in the film not relevant to our discussion)
So, however discouraging things may seem to us at times today, and as impatient as we may become sometimes with modern medications, treatments, etc., let us be grateful for what we do have, which, as noted above, is indeed "worlds" above what it used to be.
And the future will only get better. I sometimes get the feeling that eventually there is going to be what future medical historians will call the "golden age" of prostate cancer treatment (or hopefully of cancer in general), and maybe, just maybe, it will come soon enough for all of us here today to benefit from it.
One can hope.