This month, we’re talking about active surveillance for prostate cancer.
Steve B. spoke to Prostatepedia about his experience.
How did you find out that you had prostate cancer?
Steve B: I had missed two or three years of annual screening and suddenly had a PSA of 17. I went to a urologist. Immediately, he recommended robotic surgery. It was almost too blatant. I’ll say it that way.
Fortunately, because of a family friend, we knew of Dr. Snuffy Myers and sought a second opinion. My brother reminded me that the gentleman had said, “You may need to know this some day. Prostate cancer affects a large population of men.”
Dr. Myers said, “Let’s try treating your cancer with Avodart and an exercise and diet program.” We did and we were able to bring my PSA right back down.
What was your initial gut reaction when active surveillance was suggested as an option?
Steve B: I was perfectly fine with the idea. The friend had had a similar situation and was on active surveillance. He more or less suggested that this would be the hopeful outcome.
You were comfortable with active surveillance because your friend had already been doing it and it was a concept you were familiar with?
Steve B: Yes.
What does active surveillance monitoring look like for you?
Steve B: Annual imaging with color Doppler transrectal ultrasound with Dr. Duke Bahn, a visit to see Dr. Myers every year, and a blood test every three months.
What sort of diet and lifestyle program are you on?
Steve B: It’s a simple dietary regimen. I’m very given to routine. As a matter of fact, I’m quite happy doing the same thing every day.
Do you have any advice for other men?
Steve B: Be sure to get your PSA checked every year. That is the one way to catch the cancer in an early stage. I had a Gleason 6. Although the cancer is there, the size is clinically insignificant. So early diagnosis, correct treatment, and follow-up were successful in bringing my PSA to a normal range. And it’s remained in a normal range.
Annual screening is my best advice. A blood test is the least invasive procedure of all. If you do have some indicator that you have a rising PSA, well then you’ve got to take appropriate action. If you’re fortunate, active surveillance is the best outcome.