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Thread: PSA and Seeds

  1. #1 PSA and Seeds 
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    If you are squeamish regarding harsh realities of medical practice, go elsewhere without reading.

    My old friend Charlie presented an unacceptably high Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test about a year ago, submitted to a biopsy, and was told he had a small prostatic tumor which was malignant. He chose the treatment which embeds radioactive "seeds" in the gland, which irradiate their energy directly at the site, rather than passing it first through other tissues. Privately, I opposed his choice, but did not say so.

    The surgeon implanted 97 seeds via long needles which feed through a grid-like mesh, guided by computer images. The seeds themselves appear to be about the size of uncooked rice grains. The needles are very long, due to the depth required, perhaps 6 inches long, or more, and are inserted into the area between the anus and gonads. Charlie was told that as many as 150 are often used. Being a Metallurgical Engineer, he was keenly interested in the materials used, and the specific radio-isotopes employed. The isotopes are contained within a very thin skin of metallic covering, I forget, he may have said titanium.

    The aftermath of the procedure took months to resolve. Evidently, damage was done to the large gut, causing bowel problems. Urination was yet another severe problem. Since the procedure was done, his PSA readings have been very low. I asked him if he thought this might be due to more or less complete destruction of the prostate itself; he agreed he thought that likely. Charlie is 5 days younger than I.

    The new Primary Care Doctor I went to several months ago openly scoffed at the seed procedure when I mentioned my friend; he vigorously opposes it. It surprised me that a doctor would openly display disdain for a medical procedure now widely in use. At least he was "up-front", if no other qualities were to be shown. (they weren't).

    Prostate difficulties are typically commonest in older men, and as an old fart myself, knowing a number of "clan" members here are not youngsters, I thought perhaps someone might either have personal knowledge of this procedure, or have a friend who did, and might therefore care to contribute something pertaining to that knowledge.

    Thanks for reading! jocular


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  3. #2  
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    Quote Originally Posted by jocular View Post
    If you are squeamish regarding harsh realities of medical practice, go elsewhere without reading.

    My old friend Charlie presented an unacceptably high Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test about a year ago, submitted to a biopsy, and was told he had a small prostatic tumor which was malignant. He chose the treatment which embeds radioactive "seeds" in the gland, which irradiate their energy directly at the site, rather than passing it first through other tissues. Privately, I opposed his choice, but did not say so.

    The surgeon implanted 97 seeds via long needles which feed through a grid-like mesh, guided by computer images. The seeds themselves appear to be about the size of uncooked rice grains. The needles are very long, due to the depth required, perhaps 6 inches long, or more, and are inserted into the area between the anus and gonads. Charlie was told that as many as 150 are often used. Being a Metallurgical Engineer, he was keenly interested in the materials used, and the specific radio-isotopes employed. The isotopes are contained within a very thin skin of metallic covering, I forget, he may have said titanium.

    The aftermath of the procedure took months to resolve. Evidently, damage was done to the large gut, causing bowel problems. Urination was yet another severe problem. Since the procedure was done, his PSA readings have been very low. I asked him if he thought this might be due to more or less complete destruction of the prostate itself; he agreed he thought that likely. Charlie is 5 days younger than I.

    The new Primary Care Doctor I went to several months ago openly scoffed at the seed procedure when I mentioned my friend; he vigorously opposes it. It surprised me that a doctor would openly display disdain for a medical procedure now widely in use. At least he was "up-front", if no other qualities were to be shown. (they weren't).

    Prostate difficulties are typically commonest in older men, and as an old fart myself, knowing a number of "clan" members here are not youngsters, I thought perhaps someone might either have personal knowledge of this procedure, or have a friend who did, and might therefore care to contribute something pertaining to that knowledge.

    Thanks for reading! jocular
    According to everything I have read PSA tests have no definite bearing on whether a prostate is cancerous so your friend's cancer and reading were coincidental. However, that information does not seem to get passed along to doctors who were educated in earlier days. I rejected prostate surgery about 17 years ago and am still alive, without a pee bag, etc. The Canadian Cancer Society provided a large amount of valuable information including their statement that if a person has enough Beta Carotene in his diet Beta Carotene supplements can aggravate the cancer. Eat less meat drink less alcohol eat green vegetables get proper rest and get rid of hared and anger. Look up the word 'malignancy' in the dictionary.


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  4. #3  
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    According to everything I have read PSA tests have no definite bearing on whether a prostate is cancerous so your friend's cancer and reading were coincidental.
    What sort of broken logic is that? Seriously. PSA tests sometimes give false positives, but that doesn't mean the readings and jocular friend's cancer are coincidental. You are making an absolute general statement with no basis.

    About twenty five years ago I stood at my paternal grandfather's bed side after he'd had prostate surgery which led to further complications and yet another surgery. He was 89 at the time. I was shocked when he told my dad that regardless of what happened he'd never come to a hospital ever again--he was fully intending to let nature take its course the next time he had a serious problem. I'd grown to love that man like non other. For some reason he'd taken a shine to me and many of my 80+ first cousins (French Catholics don't know how to pull out :-) ) referred to me as the favorite grandson. It ripped me apart to hear what I took as surrender. Later, after the tears had dried (except for the glisten now), and years passed, I realized how wise that decision was. He'd live a full and rich life, a rare infantry soldier who'd survived WWI, lived through the Great Depression and managed to raise nine children by running a small store. He remained active in city decisions and physically active until his mid 80s. He was courageous enough to face his fate and take comfort in all he'd done. He lost his wife of 68 years the following year, and true to his word, never went back to the hospital despite living with some pain. One my aunts who'd stop by a couple times a week (as did many of the family), found him dead in his bed one morning.

    It is said that most men, if they live long enough end up with some form of prostate cancer.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; November 8th, 2013 at 10:38 PM.
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    Look up the word 'malignancy' in the dictionary.
    Even better, look it up in an oncology textbook.

    Once we're in small prostatic tumor which was malignant territory, the options are all pretty dicey. Surgery has well-known drawbacks for prostate cancer - incontinence and impotence. Choosing a treatment method which tries to avoid or reduce the risk of those is quite common. The fact that those treatments themselves can have similar, if less frequent, consequences is a matter of playing the odds.

    Choosing to eat lots of veggies instead of treatment rather than to enhance your body's capacity to deal with that treatment is not playing the odds. Its just a way to give up while kidding yourself you're taking control.
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  6. #5  
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    For those who may be interested, the Mayo Clinic write-up below is pretty thorough, on the PSA test and it's shortcomings. joc


    PSA test - MayoClinic.com
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    The paragraph below is from: Prostate brachytherapy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photos and sketches show the needles used, the seeds themselves, and claims are made regarding the relative safety and advantages of the procedure. Might I add my OWN two cents worth: That procedure will never be done to this writer's old body, no matter what! joc

    Since its introduction in the mid-1980s, prostate brachytherapy (seed implantation) has become a well-established treatment option for patients with early, localised disease. In the US alone, over 50,000 eligible prostate cancer patients a year are treated using this method.[9] Awareness of this treatment choice has now spread to other parts of the world, and there is widespread and rapidly growing use of the technique. In the UK alone, brachytherapy has been used for over 10 years and thousands of patients have been treated.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aristarchus in Exile View Post
    According to everything I have read PSA tests have no definite bearing on whether a prostate is cancerous so your friend's cancer and reading were coincidental. However, that information does not seem to get passed along to doctors who were educated in earlier days. I rejected prostate surgery about 17 years ago and am still alive, without a pee bag, etc. The Canadian Cancer Society provided a large amount of valuable information including their statement that if a person has enough Beta Carotene in his diet Beta Carotene supplements can aggravate the cancer. Eat less meat drink less alcohol eat green vegetables get proper rest and get rid of hared and anger. Look up the word 'malignancy' in the dictionary.
    Thank you for taking the time to answer. If you please, I should like to know your age. I am 71, but the thread is not about me, yet. jocular
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post


    It is said that most men, if they live long enough end up with some form of prostate cancer.
    I heard this also, long ago, perhaps 30 years ago. I've also read that in the aged man, "watching and waiting" is often a good alternative to surgery or radiation treatments. The seeds, well, quite frankly, no matter how much statistical evidence shown favoring the procedure, no matter how much "hoopla" condoning or recommending it, 'twill be a "cold day in hell" when it is performed on ME. joc
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  10. #9  
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    This chart provides good insight, if it's accurate, into the "damage assessment" value for various prostate procedures. jocular




    And, a pic of the seeds:

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  11. #10  
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    I've also read that in the aged man, "watching and waiting" is often a good alternative to surgery or radiation treatments.
    Depends on your life expectancy really. Coming from a family where no one, or everyone, lives beyond a certain age, 76 for example, will make a big difference to your attitude to treatments. A diagnosis of a localised malignant tumour when you're 71 will be received quite differently by people who only expect to live another 5 years or so as against those who were anticipating still playing golf in 20 years time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Depends on your life expectancy really. Coming from a family where no one, or everyone, lives beyond a certain age, 76 for example, will make a big difference to your attitude to treatments. A diagnosis of a localised malignant tumour when you're 71 will be received quite differently by people who only expect to live another 5 years or so as against those who were anticipating still playing golf in 20 years time.
    What proportion of persons aged 71 actually live another 20 years? 10%? Less? Likely depends a lot on geographical area, yes? And, aside, how will the current "obesity epidemic" present today in some countries, affect that question in coming years? How many of the morbidly obese live to 71? < 1%?

    If a structure, perhaps a building of brick construction, has a few "culls" developing in it's envelope, we can excise them readily. If the structure is a human being, "Cull cells" elude absolute detection, rendering absolutes of diagnosis and predictions of outcome to nothing more than guesswork, no? joc
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    What proportion of persons aged 71 actually live another 20 years?
    This isn't a population question, it's an individual question. In my family it's definitely Not The Done Thing to drop off the twig before you're 85 to 90, if you did then you'd be a bit of a weakling who just didn't try. And there are several 85+ old blokes at my mum's retirement village (she's 88) who are up and out at 6 in the morning - maybe not in winter - to get in a round of golf before breakfast.

    OTOH, I worked with a woman who didn't remember any grandparents, let alone great grandparents, because her family had a propensity to die from cancer before they were 65. She was amaaaazed that when my second child was born I was 36, husband was 41, and the kids had all four grandparents plus 3 great-grandparents - all living at home.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    According to everything I have read PSA tests have no definite bearing on whether a prostate is cancerous so your friend's cancer and reading were coincidental.
    What sort of broken logic is that? Seriously. PSA tests sometimes give false positives, but that doesn't mean the readings and jocular friend's cancer are coincidental. You are making an absolute general statement with no basis.

    About twenty five years ago I stood at my paternal grandfather's bed side after he'd had prostate surgery which led to further complications and yet another surgery. He was 89 at the time. I was shocked when he told my dad that regardless of what happened he'd never come to a hospital ever again--he was fully intending to let nature take its course the next time he had a serious problem. I'd grown to love that man like non other. For some reason he'd taken a shine to me and many of my 80+ first cousins (French Catholics don't know how to pull out :-) ) referred to me as the favorite grandson. It ripped me apart to hear what I took as surrender. Later, after the tears had dried (except for the glisten now), and years passed, I realized how wise that decision was. He'd live a full and rich life, a rare infantry soldier who'd survived WWI, lived through the Great Depression and managed to raise nine children by running a small store. He remained active in city decisions and physically active until his mid 80s. He was courageous enough to face his fate and take comfort in all he'd done. He lost his wife of 68 years the following year, and true to his word, never went back to the hospital despite living with some pain. One my aunts who'd stop by a couple times a week (as did many of the family), found him dead in his bed one morning.

    It is said that most men, if they live long enough end up with some form of prostate cancer.
    My basis is extensive research done by me through different media and libraries because I HAD prostate cancer and because I wanted to stay alive. I may STILL have prostate cancer, so my research is ongoing. A newspaper article not long ago reported that no significant length of life is achieved by the different prostate interventions. I'm alive today probably because I rejected the TURPS procedure which two urologists neglected to tell me could spread the cancer cells throughout the body.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    What proportion of persons aged 71 actually live another 20 years?
    This isn't a population question, it's an individual question. In my family it's definitely Not The Done Thing to drop off the twig before you're 85 to 90, if you did then you'd be a bit of a weakling who just didn't try. And there are several 85+ old blokes at my mum's retirement village (she's 88) who are up and out at 6 in the morning - maybe not in winter - to get in a round of golf before breakfast.

    OTOH, I worked with a woman who didn't remember any grandparents, let alone great grandparents, because her family had a propensity to die from cancer before they were 65. She was amaaaazed that when my second child was born I was 36, husband was 41, and the kids had all four grandparents plus 3 great-grandparents - all living at home.
    My mom is still alive and very heart at 94 living independantly and driving. Dad is 88 and still active but in a Retirement Home, not driving even though he passed the eye exam.
    Personally, I kind of hope I pass peacefully and painlessly at 70 as I really see myself as having 'been there and done that.' There is a lot of pain and aloneness in longevity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jocular View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post


    It is said that most men, if they live long enough end up with some form of prostate cancer.
    I heard this also, long ago, perhaps 30 years ago. I've also read that in the aged man, "watching and waiting" is often a good alternative to surgery or radiation treatments. The seeds, well, quite frankly, no matter how much statistical evidence shown favoring the procedure, no matter how much "hoopla" condoning or recommending it, 'twill be a "cold day in hell" when it is performed on ME. joc
    Exactly right. Health care is a highly profitable industry, kind of like munitions. That said, I'm thankful for the health care that is available, but a person has to do his or her own research.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Look up the word 'malignancy' in the dictionary.
    Even better, look it up in an oncology textbook.

    Once we're in small prostatic tumor which was malignant territory, the options are all pretty dicey. Surgery has well-known drawbacks for prostate cancer - incontinence and impotence. Choosing a treatment method which tries to avoid or reduce the risk of those is quite common. The fact that those treatments themselves can have similar, if less frequent, consequences is a matter of playing the odds.

    Choosing to eat lots of veggies instead of treatment rather than to enhance your body's capacity to deal with that treatment is not playing the odds. Its just a way to give up while kidding yourself you're taking control.
    Side effects of AT LEAST one surgery (TURPS) can also include spreading the cancer cells throughout the body .. that information brought to me ONLY by the Canadian Cancer Society.
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