SSS Vs. C-Squared

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silverscreenselect
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SSS Vs. C-Squared

#1 Post by silverscreenselect » Fri Apr 23, 2021 1:39 pm

I haven't said anything about this on the Bored previously, because I wanted to wait until I had something more definitive to report. But I've just come back from the oncologist today and the news is good. I've been getting treatment for two types of cancer in recent months.

During my annual physical at the end of 2019, my doctor flagged some abnormal PSA readings and suggested I contact a urologist. My appointment for March got canceled when the pandemic hit, and the July readings were even worse. After they did an MRI, they confirmed that I have prostate cancer. Fortunately, it was Type 1 in some areas and Type 2 in others. So, in January, I underwent radiation treatments.

Unlike the traditional radiation treatment where you come to the office every day for several weeks, this was outpatient surgery. They attached a cage to the part of my body where the sun doesn't shine that had several needles attached. The piece of radioactive material was about the size of a pencil lead, and they moved the needles around remotely while I was lying in the MRI machine. The idea was to get the needle as close to the cancerous area as possible without affecting the other tissue too much. I had to come back about three weeks later to repeat the procedure. From the time they put me to sleep until I left was 5-6 hours because it took a while for them to examine the scans to determine just where to place the needles. I was awake for the actual radiation part of the procedure.

Anyway, I came back today for a follow-up and the PSA levels had dropped dramatically. They said that this was very encouraging this early after the procedure, because they usually continue to drop for a year or so. Even if this is my new baseline, I should be okay for years to come.

In the meantime, I found out that I had skin cancer as well. This wasn't nearly as serious, but I had to go in twice for surgery, one on the top of my head and the second time underneath an eye (this one was considerably more delicate). That seems to have gone well, too, although I'll be back in two weeks for an additional checkup.

So, things seem to have gone about as well as I could have hoped for. Needless to say, Mrs. SSS was very relieved.
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Re: SSS Vs. C-Squared

#2 Post by Bob78164 » Fri Apr 23, 2021 1:49 pm

I'm glad to hear the treatment appears to be working. --Bob
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Re: SSS Vs. C-Squared

#3 Post by Bob Juch » Fri Apr 23, 2021 1:56 pm

S-cubed will beat C-squared.
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
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Si fractum non sit, noli id reficere.

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Re: SSS Vs. C-Squared

#4 Post by Beebs52 » Fri Apr 23, 2021 2:41 pm

SSS, prayers for you. Jeff had a radical prostatectomy (spelling) back in 2003. It had spread a little bit. All has been good since, although his psa was elevated a little at last check. He also had mohs surgery for skin cancer on his eyelid awhile back.

Just to let you know that all will be okay. A friend had proton therapy for his p cancer recently, is that anything like your procedure?

This sucks and I wish the best for you and Mrs SSS.
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Re: SSS Vs. C-Squared

#5 Post by BackInTex » Fri Apr 23, 2021 4:05 pm

That treatment does not sound comfortable. I'm glad things are looking positive for you, though. Please keep us updated on your progress. We do all care about you.
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Re: SSS Vs. C-Squared

#6 Post by Bob Juch » Fri Apr 23, 2021 5:03 pm

BackInTex wrote:
Fri Apr 23, 2021 4:05 pm
That treatment does not sound comfortable. I'm glad things are looking positive for you, though. Please keep us updated on your progress. We do all care about you.
I think all men cringed a bit when they read the procedure.
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Si fractum non sit, noli id reficere.

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Re: SSS Vs. C-Squared

#7 Post by Vandal » Fri Apr 23, 2021 7:30 pm

Positive vibes your way, sss. Please continue to kick cancer's ass.
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Re: SSS Vs. C-Squared

#8 Post by silverscreenselect » Fri Apr 23, 2021 10:18 pm

Bob Juch wrote:
Fri Apr 23, 2021 5:03 pm
BackInTex wrote:
Fri Apr 23, 2021 4:05 pm
That treatment does not sound comfortable. I'm glad things are looking positive for you, though. Please keep us updated on your progress. We do all care about you.
I think all men cringed a bit when they read the procedure.
Thanks for the good words, everyone.

It wasn't comfortable, but it wasn't overly painful either. I was put to sleep while they attached the cage with the needles. Then, once I was out of the anesthesia, they moved me from the recovery room to the treatment room. They put me in an MRI and took pictures to see where the needles were in relation to the cancer. The surgeon who does the operation takes a guess when he first places the needles but it's never quite accurate. So, I had to wait for about an hour for them to take and analyze the pictures. During this time, my legs were raised about six inches on a cushion and separated. That wasn't comfortable since all you can do is dose off or stare at the ceiling. Then the doctor readjusts the needles for more accurate placement and they insert the piece of radioactive material. It stays in place for about a half hour, then they take another picture to see if everything worked the way it was supposed to.

The procedure I had is called brachytherapy. Because the radiation is localized, there's much less risk of damaging healthy tissue or causing secondary cancer. However, it's not effective in cases of more widespread cancer. Fortunately, that's not what I had. The procedure that Beebs described is proton therapy, and it's not used as often on prostate cancer but on various other types. It relies on an external device that shoots protons into the body rather than x-rays as with traditional radiation therapy. It's more localized than traditional radiation therapy and thus has less risk of damaging other tissue. It also requires fewer treatments than standard radiation therapy and shorter procedures than what I went through.

Both brachytherapy and proton therapy require specialized equipment that many hospitals don't have, so the options that are available to an individual patient may depend on what the hospital has available.

I'll probably have to get blood tests every 3-4 months for the rest of my life to see if there are any recurrences, but the doctor told me before the procedure that there was a 99% survival rate at 10 and 15 years for patients with the level of cancer I had, so that's good.
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Re: SSS Vs. C-Squared

#9 Post by Spock » Sat Apr 24, 2021 3:49 pm

Glad it seems to be turning out OK-Life wouldn't be the same without you in it.

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