Too old for treatment?

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biker90
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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1463
   Posted 1/9/2007 3:17 PM (GMT -7)   
Occasionally a post comes on this forum that questions the treatment options open to "old people".  It seems that the opinion is that an old person will die of something else anyway so why fix their prostate cancer.  What?  Are we not at least due an attempt?  The people that hold these opinions should consider that in a few years, they will be here too.
 
Here are two examples, one with a good outcome and one with a bad outcome:
 
1) My brother-in-law had open-heart surgery when he was 86.  It renewed his physical and emotional life.  The "do nothing" option would have him sit around and die in misery because he was too old to save anyway.
 
2)  My dad was diagnosed with PCa at 79.  It was decided that he was too old for surgery and he did not want radiation or the other options.  So, he sat around and died in misery after a year and a half.
 
If a person is told they have a deadly disease and then are told that they are not eligible for certain treatments, he will probably just give up.  This is just my opinion but I think that the most valuable tool a person can have in conquering PCa is a positive attitude and the medics and so called "care givers" should do everything possible to foster a good outlook and support whatever treatment the person chooses.
 
See ya...
 
Jim
Age 72. Diagnosed 11/03/06. PSA 7.05. Stage T2B Gleason 3+3.
RRP 12/7/06. Nerves and nodes okay.
Pathological stage: T2B. Gleason 3+4. Cancer confined to prostate.
PSA on 1/3/07 - 0.04.  Next PSA on 4/4/07.
 
            "Cancer feeds on fear.  Starve it to death."


Pete's Co-pilot
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 1/9/2007 6:08 PM (GMT -7)   

Hello Jim,

I'm always amazed at the stupidity of that statement, and coming from the medical community!  My paternal Grandfather  had prostate surgery in his 70's, had to fight for it, because he was told the same thing, "You're too old", but would he have enjoyed the remaining 20 years without it?  Heck no!  And surgery technique then was nothing close to what it is NOW! 

Too many people are frightened, uninformed and take the doctor's word as gospel, trusting too much that "if the doctor says it, it MUST be true".  Doctors are people who have opinions, get "set" in their ways and sometimes make mistakes.  But in the end, we're all responsible for ourselves and our bodies.  "I'll be glad to hear your say doctor, but that doesn't mean I have to agree with your tx, thank you very much"! 

Stay strong!

 


Pete's Co-pilot,
Lisa


biker90
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1463
   Posted 1/9/2007 6:19 PM (GMT -7)   

Amen!!!! Lisa!!!

 

Jim


Age 72. Diagnosed 11/03/06. PSA 7.05. Stage T2B Gleason 3+3.
RRP 12/7/06. Nerves and nodes okay.
Pathological stage: T2B. Gleason 3+4. Cancer confined to prostate.
PSA on 1/3/07 - 0.04.  Next PSA on 4/4/07.
 
            "Squeeze before you sneeze!"


lawink
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 621
   Posted 1/9/2007 9:46 PM (GMT -7)   
Right on with all of the comments. Remember, old is always 15 years older than you are RIGHT NOW!!!!
;o)
Bob (60) had laproscopic prostate surgery on Sept 27, 2006 - 2/12 malignant biopsy samples - gleason 3 + 3 = 6.  Follow up PSA results and pathology results received Nov 14th are NO MORE CANCER!  Gleason changed to a 3 + 4; cancer completely confined to prostate; (even a second more agressive, previously undetected cancer)      PSA UNDETECTABLE.   Next PSA check Feb 27, 2007.
 
Bob also takes Hydroxyurea to control Polycythemia (elevated red & white cells & platelets) has secondary condition . . Myelofibrosis) -- If anyone has experience or knowledge of these, please post us.


GreenAcres
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 474
   Posted 1/10/2007 11:25 AM (GMT -7)   
OK, kids, don't get offended, but I've seen it right here, too! Some of the "younger" ones coming on board have made statements such as "well, if I were older, I suppose there wouldn't be these many choices to make." Or, "if I were older, I'd probably choose radiation." Or, "If I were older, the decision would be easier."

Age is a state of mind, as some will delightfully discover when they're "up there." If you're in a reasonable amount of good health, you want to keep it that way, whether you're 60, 70, 80, or 90 and beyond.

A double-thanks to you, Biker 90, for being here!

(Of course, I'm also the one who made reference to a "used car salesman.") :-)
Husband age 65
PSA on 5/1/06: 4.2 (had doubled in 13 mos. and rising monthly)
DaVinci Surgery 8/2/06
T2a (at biopsy)
T4c (at pathology) w/cancer cell leakage into fatty tissue
Post-Surgical PSA on 10/3/06 - undetectable!
Update: 11/1/06 - perhaps bladder neck involvement; 30%-50% chance of recurrence
Future: PSA tests twice-yearly for now
 


Sarita
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 1/10/2007 12:22 PM (GMT -7)   

I think the issue is that after a certain point (and that point varies among people), the risks of treatment may outweigh the possible benefits.  Elderly people do not endure anesthesia as well, or heal as well after surgery, as their younger counterparts; generally they are not as mobile, etc. so doctors take this into consideration.  It's not as though they're just "giving up" on their patients because they're old; they're trying to to weigh the risks and benefits.

Don't get me wrong - I'd love to see my dad get treatment for his cancer.  But even he realizes that at 72, his risk of having an adverse reaction to anesthesia or post-surgical complications will be much greater than his risk would be if he was 50.  He's in great shape, though, so it might be worth it for him.


djhouston
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 68
   Posted 1/10/2007 3:55 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi,
As I was just saying on the thread originally posted by LoveMyDad, I think that robotic surgery has the potential to open the possibility of surgical removal of the cancer to people who, because of "medical difficulties sometimes encountered in advanced age," may not have been considered for surgery before. I think that, aside from anesthesia, the after-effects of radiation and hormone therapy sound a lot more chronically troubling than laparoscopic surgery. There was even, you should pardon my expression and no offense to him, an over-60 year-old "wild man" who posted on the Low Blow forum, hosted by www.msnbc.com, that he had had open retropubic radical prostatectomy wide awake under SPINAL anesthesia. He said that he went back to work the next week.

If a person is not an anesthesia risk, and minds his doctor's and nurse's advice about keeping his legs up and his TED hose on so that he doesn't get deep vein blood clots, and does his deep breathing exercises so that he doesn't get pneumonia (like I initially didn't and almost got and I'm 57), then I think robotic surgery would work well in the over 80 group. Like I said in the other thread, they do hip and knee surgery under general anesthesia in this group so what is the deal?
dj
dj's stats:
PSA (10/04): 2.9; PSA (2/06):4.4, on Androgel (serum T about 450) at age 56; negative DRE, no symptoms.
PSA (5/06):5.7 with a free PSA% of 8, OFF Androgel (serum T 163). 
Biopsy (5/06): 4/12 samples positive; postitive samples only on right side; max Gleason 4+3=7 (in 2 of the 4 -from area nearest bladder.
DaVinci robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy + bladder lift + Right nerve plastic surgery (8/23/06).
Catheter out 4 weeks postop, due to internal pinhole leak at bladder-urethra junction.
Final pathology report:T2c-both sides,but in capsule; neg. margins, neg. lymph nodes, neg. seminal vesicles; final max Gleason still 4+3=7.
Follow-up PSA (11/06): <0.008; serum T: 195 OFF Androgel (at present).


bluebird
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 2542
   Posted 1/14/2007 8:13 PM (GMT -7)   
 

Posted back on 11-03-06

Partial….Quote from Biker90 from Age and Treatment Thread:

I'm 72 so am glad to see some posts from other old f____s. 

 

 

Hi Jim * our Biker90 (a very special old f_____!!!   tongue  ) and to our other Forum Friends…

 

 

                                       Knowledge is Power

                                                       

You and many other members have given the 2 of us!!  Knowledge …. that in the future we should not shy away from surgeries, chemo, and/or radiation.

 

You are so right!!!  Thinking back over earlier postings ~ I’m one of the ones…guilty of this feeling…  I’ve always felt that the older you are ~ the more complications there are to deal with. 

 

We’ve both stated over the years when the topic came up about future possible illnesses… that we would never have radiation or chemo…  Then ~ after my boss (70) had radioactive seed implants… thought that would be the radiation we would go with if we were over 65...

 

Over the course of the past year… our eyes have truly been opened.

 

Our “Friends” on this forum have given us “Knowledge” through your decisions to have surgery as your treatment after the age of 60, 65, & 72+.....  You and Magaboo are prime examples!!!!!  Thank you!!!!

 

John *Jeb187chs ~ has given us new knowledge as he so willingly shares his journey ~ which in turn has given us a new understanding… about chemo… and we will follow his journey with the radiation followup.  Again….. gaining Knowledge.

 

Bill *Jetguy ~ has cemented our personal opinion that “Your decision is Your decision and it's the right decision”….  We've always felt this to be true and following his journey with his decision to have radiation treatments ~ is teaching the 2 of us… so much. 

 

Quote from Jetguy in a previous posting…..

I have not yet decided what course of treatment to pursue and since none of them are ideal, I'm really working on it. It won't be popular on this site, but I'm looking hard at radiation. If that is my decision, I'll be sure to stay here so others who have the same interest can share my experience. This is such a great place that I want to encourage those who choose other than surgery.

 

I wonder if he realizes… just how much he’s taught us with this “1” posting!!!!!!!!!!!!!  1790 views on his Thread… shows clearly that the statement above is incorrect.  I truly feel he ~ along with several others.. have opened the door and the eyes of so many……  and we Thank you!!

 

Swimom and several others have given us information that surgery is not totally ruled out when radiation was the 1st treatment selected.… something that we didn’t think was possible….  Again ~ Knowledge gained…. From being on this forum.

How blessed we are to have found this forum.... and what a "special" name!!!  Healingwell….   yeah  

 

We personally would like to thank “YOU”…. for caring enough to share your journeys with us.  We have learned so much over the past year and we continue to grow in knowledge.

 

Thank you!       In Friendship ~ Lee & Buddy

 

Though  you  cannot  always  see  the  bird  singing,  if you  listen  with  your  heart, 

you  can  always  hear  her  song.


mama bluebird - Lee & Buddy… from North Carolina

Link to our personal journey…>>>     Our Journey ~ Sharing is Caring 

April 3, 2006  53 on surgery day

RRP / Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy with "wide excision"

PSA 4.6   Gleason  3+3=6    T2a   Confined to Prostate

June 29th ~ PSA Less than 0.1 Non-detectable


biker90
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1463
   Posted 1/14/2007 9:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Bluebird. We really do learn from each other's experience.

We have seen several younger people come on this forum looking for help for their parents or other "older" people. It seems that the prevailing opinion in the general public is 1) cancer is terrible and not to be mentioned by name (the "C" word ...) and 2) in "old" people it is hopeless. We can help dispel both of these myths by encouraging them, no matter what the age, to not rule out any kind of treatment.

Now, I agree that there are circumstances that make surgery more risky. (I thought that my six previous abdominal surgeries would rule out RRP. But I was wrong!) However, there are circumstances in even the youngest of our members that could rule out certain treatments. Please let's not discourage anyone from seeking a treatment that could save their life.

I will now dismount my soap box.....

Jim
Age 72. Diagnosed 11/03/06. PSA 7.05. Stage T2B Gleason 3+3.
RRP 12/7/06. Nerves and nodes okay.
Pathological stage: T2B. Gleason 3+4. Cancer confined to prostate.
PSA on 1/3/07 - 0.04.  Next PSA on 4/4/07.
 
            "I have cancer but cancer does NOT have me!"


bluebird
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 2542
   Posted 1/15/2007 11:56 AM (GMT -7)   

yeah    :-)    :-)   The End   :-)   :-)    yeah   

Pete ~ you are a stinker!!!!  Comin' in after the door is shut!  tongue

Thank you for the wonderful compliment to both Biker90 & to me....!!!! 

I responded on Helpful Hints thread about the moderator position. 

 


mama bluebird - Lee & Buddy… from North Carolina

Link to our personal journey…>>>     Our Journey ~ Sharing is Caring 

April 3, 2006  53 on surgery day

RRP / Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy with "wide excision"

PSA 4.6   Gleason  3+3=6    T2a   Confined to Prostate

June 29th ~ PSA Less than 0.1 Non-detectable

Post Edited (bluebird) : 1/31/2007 6:22:19 PM (GMT-7)


Pete trips again!
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1899
   Posted 1/15/2007 1:53 PM (GMT -7)   
No, not the END!!! With you two here to help all the others that travel down this road it's the BEGINNING!! Thank God you are here, it would be a great loss to all of us without you! Moma Bluebird, have you thought about being Monitor??????
Your friend, Pete
53 years old, Surgury, Radical Prostatectomy 8/20/03, PSA 6.6, Gleason 3 + 3 = 6, Adenocarcinoma extent (moderate) Stage & Margin:T2NOMX, No Metastases, Organ Confined, bone scan: Neg.  

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