Surprise Diagnosis and Quick Response

PSA and family history

For 25 years, since my mid 40's I had been having PSA tests done at least annually at the Cruisin' For A Cure car show in Costa Mesa Ca, as well as for annual physicals. My count was always less than 2. However my father had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and later died from the spread of the disease, so I had a direct link.

prostate cancer diagnosis

Three years ago, in 2019, during my physical, my doctor thought he felt something and referred me to a Urologist. On my visit to him, he did not find anything irregular but suggested I return in 6 months. Again, in six months, everything seemed fine and my PSA tests were still below 2.

Fast forward to July 2021, age 70, and in preparation for my annual physical, my blood test showed a PSA of 4+. I was concerned and expressed it to my doctor. He again got me into my Urologist and a biopsy was performed in September. The results of 12 samples were 6 that were cancerous, and 4 particularly aggressive. By now my PSA was above 5 and a Gleason score of 8-9. He suggested I come in for a consultation and bring my wife.

Prostate cancer treatment

At this point, I must say I feel lucky to have a very thorough Urologist. He took the time to explain to us in detail my options as well as the possible outcomes, risks, and possible problems. With the rapid rise and growth coupled with my family history, I chose to have a Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy (incision from below the belly button) and removal of lymph nodes and surrounding nerves. He was in agreement and was very good about explaining the ramifications of my decision. I would likely lose the ability to have an erection and might have long-term incontinence problems among others.

Surgery side effects and management

My surgery was in December 2021, and I had a catheter for a little over 2 weeks due to the holidays and office closures. I healed quickly and after a few weeks regained bladder control. However, a few weeks into March 2022, I noticed I was having difficulty urinating and emptying my bladder, resulting in dripping and having to "push" to empty my bladder.

In March 2022, he used a scope to internally view the urethra and found some scar tissue that appeared t be partially blocking the flow. In April I had outpatient surgery to remove it with laser surgery. Full control returned for a month and then it began restricting again. In June 2022, we found additional scarring farther up the urethra, and at this time I am awaiting a surgical date to have additional laser work done to restore the flow.

Life after diagnosis and treatment

As far as my life since the diagnosis last summer, I have returned to full physical activity, hobbies, and socializing. My only negative is my lack of sexual ability, but I knew this might be the tradeoff and I can live with that. In addition, I have met several other men who either have gone through prostate cancer treatments or are currently experiencing treatment. We "Survivors" have a lot in common.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The ProstateCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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