I agree 100% (if not more!) with what John said above. After I was diagnosed with PCa, my primary care physician who I respect greatly, didn't steer me towards surgery, but indicated that I should consider photon or x-ray radiation treatment at a major cancer hospital nearby. He didn't seem to know much about
proton radiation and somewhat dismissed it. The fact that he had no problem steering me toward radiation instead of surgery only gave me more impetus to pursue proton radiation. After I made my decision on proton radiation, I sent him an e-mail telling him some of the key facts about
the history and success of proton radiation and why I felt it was the best treatment solution for me.
I met with him soon thereafter and he gave me a "thumbs up" on my treatment selection! I find it very annoying that more doctors don't know too much about
proton radiation therapy, so we have to teach them! I get incensed when any doctor says that proton radiation therapy is unproven. It shows a lack of knowledge by the doctor who is just "shooting from the hip". The fact that Medicare has approved proton radiation therapy as a reimburseable cost (and it is the most expensive PCa treatment there is today) is proof enough for me. The Loma Linda statistics speak for themselves along with the testimony of a countless number of PCa patients who have been successfully treated with proton therapy. Obviously, there are some failures, but that it true of any kind of PCa treatment today. There is no guarantee that any treatment is going to eradicate our cancer. We have to weigh the pros and cons of each treatment and then select the one that we feel is best for us.
Considering that you have Gleason score of 8 (4 + 4), I strongly suggested that you get a 2nd opinion on your biopsy. Jonathan Epstein's group at John Hopkins is often mentioned as an excellent choice for a 2nd opinion. I ended up getting a 2nd and 3rd opinion (somewhat by default) from two major cancer hospitals. The 3rd opinion downgraded my Gleason 7 (3+4) to a Gleason 6 (3 + 3). If you are seriously considering proton therapy, you may have to contact more than one proton center to see if they will accept you with a Gleason score of 8. You did not mention your PSA reading which is also an important decision making consideration. Good Luck! Let us know what happens.
68, 29-core biopsy 9/27/06, PSA 7.1, Stage T1c, Gleason 7 (3+4) [less than 20% in one area], Gleason 6 [less than 5% in two other areas], negative DRE, bone scan and Endorectal MRI. Completed 39 Proton radiation treatments 2/22/07-4/18/07.
First PSA test to be taken 7/07.
Post Edited (pcdave) : 6/19/2007 7:17:06 PM (GMT-6)