ALPHARETTA, Ga. - In 2010 when I was 56 - my PSA count jumped a bit too much for my primary care doctor. I was tested (needle biopsy) and the sample was sent to the lab. It came back positive - with a small number of prostate cancer cells in a couple quadrants. At that point I decided to treat the cancer the radiation/seed route in lieu of surgery or "watch and wait.' I went through the process the day surgery to implant the seeds and then six weeks of radiation. Since then my PSA has dropped significantly like it is supposed to and I am getting on with my life with little to no significant residual side effects. That is my very short summary and what follows is a short list of points that I feel could answer questions for those who are or will be faced with the same illness.
The needle biopsy doesn't hurt. It's not a big deal.
The radiation was no big deal. I didn't lose my hair and really felt few side effects. It doesn't hurt and the sessions last about 15-20 minutes each.
Most folks I have spoken with who did radiation have had to take medication for about the first year or so to help urinate. The radiation essentially destroys the prostrate / urethra including the cancer cells and then the healthy tissue grows back but it takes time.
The first week after the surgery you typically have to use a catheter. That was probably the most aggravating aspect. But within a week that is typically gone.
I didn't spend a lot of time researching alternatives but there are more now including proton therapy which sounds like the least invasive of all treatments. I also know at least two folks who were treated in Jacksonville, Florida.
Once you have had prostate cancer you will be amazed at how many of your friends and people you know have had it also. The numbers are so surprising.
In hindsight, I almost feel guilty writing about prostate cancer because so many of the other cancers and treatments are so much worse.