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Stage 4 Prostate Cancer at 55 Years Old

Feeling down! A year ago had robotic surgery for stage 4 prostate cancer and after 1 year my PSA is at .02. Original PSA was .7 (4+3 I believe) and am 56 years old. All I read online is life expectancy is approximately 4-5 years. I felt good for a year when PSA was undetectable and now I feel numb every day. I feel like I want to cry since day 1 but can’t seem to shed a tear.

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Comments

  • Will Jones moderator
    5 days ago

    Thank you for having the courage to share your condition and feelings, @brain2. There’s a lot of hope in the replies of the other moderators, all of whom have had a personal experience with prostate cancer, who have responded to your post. Please continue to share your journey with us. As has been already written, you’re not alone.

  • Scoofer
    1 week ago

    brain2 – I have tried to bring myself to respond to your article many times over the last three weeks but felt inadequate to speak to your issues even though we share an amazing amount of similarities in our condition and emotional states. I have sought a professional Christian counselor to help me get in touch with expressing my emotions and am hopeful this will help. It is difficult moving into the future with a positive, hopeful outlook. I just wanted you to know you are not alone!

  • brain2 author
    1 week ago

    I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your response. Seeing the words, “ you are not alone” brings me to tears and gives me comfort!

    Fortunately I had my surgery just before being laid off from my 20+ year job. Wow what a roller coaster it has been for me! I keep it all to myself and feel like I’m going to implode. I don’t share any of my feelings with anyone! I took a lot for me to even post.

    Sorry if don’t make any sense as I’m not college educated. But I am a man with a heart of gold!

    Thank you so much for your support!

  • Dennis Golden moderator
    6 days ago

    Hi @brain2 … Congratulations on your post and welcome to the power of sharing on prostate cancer.net

    A fact to remember about prostate cancer – it does not care how you feel today or how well or poorly educated you are. It does not care about you social status or how much money you have in the bank. This disease impacts the famous and not so famous along with the young, the old, the rich and poor. I recently learn about a young man who was diagnosed with advanced metastatic prostate cancer in his late 20’s. The discovery apparently was due to a clerical error that requested a psa blood for a man under 30.

    Prostate cancer not only takes a toll on us physically …it can if we allow it … to play with our minds, our emotions and even our sense of self-identity. When I was first diagnosed I did not know if I was about to live or die. Everything I read told me a Gleason 9 was not the best. Like you I was on a roller coaster ride of emotions and did not know where to turn.

    It’s now been 7 years since my diagnosis and thanks to surgery, radiation and hormone therapy I am still here. The best advice I can offer is based on first hand experience – don’t keep all of this bundled up inside. Share information and share your emotions. Get involved with a local support group and began to share information.

    You are not along there are millions of men living with this disease today. And apparently according to the Journal of the American Medical Association there are over 40 million men in the U.S who are living with undiagnosed prostate cancer.

    There is nothing to be ashamed of this is simply a disease that you are treating. One message I stress in all of my speaking engagements across the country is to not let prostate cancer or routine PSA testing camp out in your head. This disease does not own your mind and the best way to stay ahead of it in my opinion is to speak up and share your feelings with others. … Dennis (ProstateCancer.net Team)

  • johnp
    2 weeks ago

    I was stage four at age 52. I will turn 70 in two weeks. I have had multiple treatments but am still here. Survival is a parabolic curve. You can be like me, at the far end of the curve. Live and enjoy your life day by day.

  • brain2 author
    1 week ago

    Thank you johnp! I’m so glad to hear your story. It truly gives me some hope!

  • Dennis Golden moderator
    1 week ago

    Hi johnp … A diagnosis of an aggressive cancer takes the wind out of your sails or at least it did me. Diagnosed at age 70 with a Gleason 9 I never thought I would be here 7 years later. Had robotic surgery in 2013 and then a few years later needed to go back in for external beam radiation along with a 6 month dose of hormone therapy. Following my successful surgery the hyper sensitive PSA (post surgery PSA) testing over time showed a w slow but steady upward march.

    I do agree with you about the parabolic curve not only for treatments but also for the emotional rollercoaster this disease puts all of us on. And if that were not enough the many tolls we pay along the way can get a bit overwhelming.

    Someone much wiser than me said: “Remember that you can not change the past and no one can predict the future. You can only live your life in the moment so live it to the fullest each day.” Wishing you all the best as we \ take our individual journeys with this disease . … Dennis (ProstateCancer.net Team)

  • Doug Sparling moderator
    3 weeks ago

    Hi Brian.

    I’m not a doctor, but I do have a wonderful oncologist in an NCI-designated cancer center and research facility. I work closely with her and through some patient research advocacy programs I get to work with cancer researchers and oncologists. My point is is that I do a lot of my own research from very good resources.

    So first I’d like to say that the survival rate (28% five-survival rate) is based on old data, before a lot of the newer treatments had become available. Other factors are important like overall health, age, how aggressive the cancer is.

    The PSA of 0.02 is excellent. Gleason 7 (4+3) is intermediate risk, I think.

    You say stage 4, so I assume your cancer has spread outside your prostate.

    What is the level of your tumor burden? How extensive are your mets? How aggressive is the cancer and metastases?

    Have you had bone scans? Are you on any treatment? With stage 4 you’ll generally be on hormone treatment at minimum.

    I’m 59, was diagnosed at age 57. My original PSA was 5,306, my Gleason score was 9 (5+4), and my tumor burden was incredibly high. A very aggressive stage 4. I went on ADT (Lupron) and chemo (Docetaxel) right away. That got my PSA down to 22 but it started to rise again. Then I went on a clinical trial. Chemo #2 (cabazitaxel) and Zytiga. I finished the chemo back in February and I’m still taking Zytiga. My PSA is down to 0.1 and holding! In my case, bone scans are the main prognostic for the trial, so though we do track PSA closely, it’s the bone scans that count.

    So unless you have lots of mets or lesions to visceral organs, I’d definitely say ignore the stats you find on the internet. Probably ignore them regardless.

    All of my friends and people I’ve met with stage 4 prostate cancer have done very well, myself included. But there are certainly exceptions. We’re all different and our cancers and situations are different. I have to reiterate that I am not a doctor, but I hope you can glean something useful from my message.

    Do you see a medical oncologist? If not I’d make an appointment ASAP. (Again, I am not a doctor. I can only pass on the knowledge I have gained from my own personal experience from the last two years.)

    Have you looked for a support group in your area? Best thing I ever did was join a support group. There are many online too, just like prostatecancer.net. I found the first year the hardest. Feeling numb wanting to cry is common.

    The main thing to know is you are not alone!

    I wish you the best, Brian.

  • Dennis Golden moderator
    1 month ago

    Prostate cancer works on you at several levels physical and emotional. The one thing I discovered early on was that this disease impacts each of us differently. Someone’s experience with this disease typically is not going to be roadmap for your journey

    When first diagnosed, I consumed everything kind of information available.

    Some of the stuff you read can be pretty unsettling. Candidly the more I read the more depressed I became These days I prefer getting my information and support here.

    One survivor I chatted with told me take off my my shoes and socks when I got home and to call him. I was puzzled but played along.

    When I called he asked if I had an expiration date stamped on the bottom of my foot.
    When I said no he said “ok now you can relax.”

    Funny thing about that little exercise it really helped me. Hope it can do the same for you. …Dennis( ProstateCancer.net) Moderator

  • brain2 author
    4 weeks ago

    Thank you for sharing! For many days I started to reply to you and got very emotional inside and had to cancel my response. I had cancelled my original post because I didn’t believe anybody really cared. I am more interested than ever to connect with someone going through the same experience!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

    Sincerely

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