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That walnut sized organ: the Prostate

  • 05-12-2015 6:48pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 12,163 ✭✭✭✭


    Having read some recent posts here I though I would share my experiences with said organ.

    Am 63 and have or had no symptoms of any description:

    Sept 2014 went for a voluntary MOT offered by my health insurer: typical upselling: sent out the letter saying they would do a special deal at 200 euro for a suite of tests that normally cost...blah

    Rang them up to make an appointment: despite having a policy with them for 30 years, first question: what age:
    62
    Oh, for someone you age we recommend the enhanced package: 400 euro.:cool:

    Included in the list of tests was the PSA blood test.
    [Will not debate the pros and cons here, this is just an info thread: will not follow this so if u need anything PM me.
    In some of Europe they don't do the test because of the uncertainly: they do ultrasound which gives mass and size.
    http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prostate-cancer/basics/definition/con-20029597 ]

    Anyway, signed up for the full suite, including the PSA blood test and the DRE:D
    [Think Heineken advert]

    Doc rang me two days later, PSA too high for your age: need second test in 6 weeks, as the DRE stimulates the prostate ... yes indeed.

    Asked for the Free vs bound test: not offered so rang my GP, said yeah come down and we will have a look at the tackle first.

    He thought there was a fishy smell down below so he put me on a week of antos before the second test, sent away blood test requesting Free vs bound, just basic test done: why? no answer.
    Number was half the first reading: but still too high: 50% over:

    3 month ( March) later: same
    Next one (Sept 15) double March
    Next one [Nov 15 ]( double again.

    Saw a consultant yesterday and after a rigorous DRE he says the PSA is way too high for the size of the prostate at my age so he wants a biopsy done in Feb, if the Jan PSA is still high, after another shot of antos to make sure no UTI or otherwise:
    [ this course, started today, is serious stuff: I reckon they kill the bugs in the beer I am drinking while writing this:)

    Was reading up on biopsy:
    http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/tony-ward-the-toughest-game-of-my-life-my-epic-battle-with-prostate-cancer-34179564.html

    Its a pity Tony never said how he came to catch the problem.

    The one thing I remember about what the consultant said about the biopsy is that all it says is we didn't find cancer, not that its not there: they take 12 or so samples: see attachment. but they cannot sample it all so the cell next to one they take might be cancerous.

    Why am I posting this:
    think about the test as its a very silent cancer
    and
    be able to live with the potential answer, even if its wrong.

    My GP was very definite about the fact that many docs feel it is not a test that should be done cold, without any consideration: he compared it to a HIV test which I gather is not done without counselling.

    In my case it may be nothing but it has focussed my mind on living every day to the full and not vegetate in front of Coro and Fair City.:D

    Hope this helps and Happy Christmas

    “I can’t pay my staff or mortgage with instagram likes”.



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Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 14 sserdda


    http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=91945404

    here is where my problems started.

    Have to go back and get surgery on the bladder. And a stent in heart.

    Prostate the size of a walnut was the size of a lemon.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,163 ✭✭✭✭Calahonda52


    had the trans-rectal ultra sound and prostate biopsy yesterday.

    Process was as follows:

    paperwork done at 0830
    urine test first: all clear
    blood tests next: all clear.
    Oral and IV antibiotics administered at 09:10
    On the couch at 10:10, they wait an hour for anto's to click in.

    Consent form signed at that point, having discussed risks etc

    Lie on side, knees up, trousers etc down: no gown etc just drop the pants.
    topical anaesthetic applied to rectum.

    "weapon" inserted into rectum and three local anaesthetic injections given around the prostate. Not in the least painful.

    Then 14 samples taken, all you here is a click, no pain whatsoever.

    "weapon" removed, cleaned up and off the couch, all done in 10 to 15 minutes.

    Then drink plenty liquids to pass at least 100 ml of urine. this was done at 11:30
    Once thats done, home and take another set of anto's at 21:00.

    As anaesthetic wore off took one lot of painkillers at 14:00 when I got home.

    All in all just a bit of discomfort and nothing like what Tony Ward wrote about it
    http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/tony-ward-the-toughest-game-of-my-life-my-epic-battle-with-prostate-cancer-34179564.html

    I asked the guy driving the "weapon", the local anaesthetic is a new development which Tony didn't have.
    Results in two weeks.
    HTH

    “I can’t pay my staff or mortgage with instagram likes”.



  • Registered Users Posts: 12,163 ✭✭✭✭Calahonda52


    Two days after the TRUS I got septicaemia: followed the consultant's instructions so was admitted to hospital pronto.

    7 days in hospital and 4 days IV at home... scary.

    A week after I got home and finished the medication I got it again.

    Back in hospital again. I followed the instructions again and was admitted pronto again.

    7 days in hospital and 10 days IV at home


    Scary redux.
    However no permanent organ damage.

    Biopsy result show cancer so I will know next week what the medical plan is: either surgery or radiotherapy.
    Too far gone for the inserts.
    Decision is mine, no recommendation

    Will be back when I know what the plan is.

    Moral of story, get it tested.

    “I can’t pay my staff or mortgage with instagram likes”.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,724 ✭✭✭Metric Tensor


    Hi Calahonda,

    Sorry to hear about the bad news. Wishing you all the best.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,163 ✭✭✭✭Calahonda52


    Tks, MT: in some respects its easier to deal with than if biopsy came back with the result saying we didn't find it in the biopsy so it would have been more PSA tests and more biopsies... [ The analogy I use is a dart board for the 15 shots they take: they might have missed it at treble 19
    Am told its still contained in the prostate as all the other tests, including bone scan, are clear so its just to decide on what to do after I talk to the radiotherapy RT and surgery teams. The main side effects from both are somewhat similar, what I don't have is the differential stats that say for example, X out of 10 patients who opt for surgery get side effect A, as opposed to Y if they opt for RT

    The RT is also a much longer process, maybe 9 weeks at 5 sessions a week and then waiting 3 or more months before they can see it it has worked.

    As an engineer, my instinct is to go surgery as it gets it done, am otherwise healthy so no medical reasons why I can't go under knife, I have neighbour who is obese with same issue and surgery not offered.
    The other, perhaps illogical, reason for my thinking is that heavy RT precludes subsequent surgery, same as for women with breast cancer, heavy RT precludes reconstructive surgery.

    Thanks again.

    “I can’t pay my staff or mortgage with instagram likes”.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 28,067 ✭✭✭✭drunkmonkey




  • Registered Users Posts: 12,163 ✭✭✭✭Calahonda52


    Surgery is the agreed plan, and the examination of the prostate, post-extraction, will determine if any RT is required.

    Will be back with an update post-surgery and in the meantime, thanks for all the kind words both public and private.

    And, notwithstanding the uncertainty with the PSA test results, don't wait to get your's tested if you are male and of an age......

    As I wrote before, I had zero symptoms, it was picked up in a medical MOT and would have been a serious issue in a few years if not picked up.

    “I can’t pay my staff or mortgage with instagram likes”.



  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,948 ✭✭✭gizmo555


    Hi Calahonda,

    Just happened to see this news report on a scientific paper published yesterday - you may want to discuss with your doctors:

    A MAJOR STUDY has shown that aspirin could be effective in stopping the spreading of some cancers.

    Patients diagnosed with bowel, breast and prostate cancer could see their survival rate boosted by as much 20%, as well as seeing a reduction in spreading.

    This comes from new research led by Professor Peter Elwood from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine – an expert whose previous work includes proving the link between aspirin intake and a reduction in death from heart disease.

    http://www.thejournal.ie/aspirin-survival-rate-cancer-drug-2726804-Apr2016/

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0152402


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,163 ✭✭✭✭Calahonda52


    http://www.bbc.com/news/health-36105272

    Nice diagram!

    The only comment I have is that I had zero symptoms.......

    Gizmo, thanks for the links. Appreciated.
    Open rant:
    I am 100% skeptical of a lot of this stuff as in a few years time they will stand it on its head.
    Most of this stuff, IMHO, is churned out by academics chasing publications and slave-driving their research students, all with the aim of getting more funding.
    You then have examples of stuff being falsified, just like the car emissions so prefer article like the above that deal in facts.
    close rant.

    “I can’t pay my staff or mortgage with instagram likes”.



  • Registered Users Posts: 12,163 ✭✭✭✭Calahonda52


    I met with the surgeon last week and i am getting "done" in May.

    At the start of the discussion he asked me about family/kids ages etc which took me by surprise a little.

    The two main side effects from surgery are urinary incontinence and loss of sexual functionality, normally the ability to have an erection.

    He was pretty forthright in his assessment of what needed to be removed so I will have side effects.

    He was also pretty forthright in what he sees are his priorities.
    1: remove the cancerous material and enough ancillary material to try get clear surgical margins.
    2: Minimise the side effects, with the emphasis on keeping the incontinence to a minimum.

    In my case due to the amount of ancillary material to be removed, the nerves that facilitate the erections will be removed so thats that.

    So no longer a question of percentages and probabilities, it is game over in the jolly roger department, end of the "I see you are happy to see me" comments :D.

    The urinary issue may only be short term but it will arise.

    The key take away for me is early testing as if I had caught this earlier the radiotherapy inserts might have been a solution.

    The next stage after the surgery is to slice and dice and examine the material to see did they achieve the clear surgical margins: this will be available 2 days after the surgery but they wont start any further treatment, if necessary, until 2 months after the surgery.
    So it will be a long summer.

    “I can’t pay my staff or mortgage with instagram likes”.



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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 11,667 Mod ✭✭✭✭RobFowl


    A mate had this 9 years ago and is as big and bad as ever with no recurrence to date. Keep the head up and take the advice of your docs :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,102 ✭✭✭PMBC


    I met with the surgeon last week and i am getting "done" in May.

    At the start of the discussion he asked me about family/kids ages etc which took me by surprise a little.

    The two main side effects from surgery are urinary incontinence and loss of sexual functionality, normally the ability to have an erection.

    He was pretty forthright in his assessment of what needed to be removed so I will have side effects.

    He was also pretty forthright in what he sees are his priorities.
    1: remove the cancerous material and enough ancillary material to try get clear surgical margins.
    2: Minimise the side effects, with the emphasis on keeping the incontinence to a minimum.

    In my case due to the amount of ancillary material to be removed, the nerves that facilitate the erections will be removed so thats that.

    So no longer a question of percentages and probabilities, it is game over in the jolly roger department, end of the "I see you are happy to see me" comments :D.

    The urinary issue may only be short term but it will arise.

    The key take away for me is early testing as if I had caught this earlier the radiotherapy inserts might have been a solution.

    The next stage after the surgery is to slice and dice and examine the material to see did they achieve the clear surgical margins: this will be available 2 days after the surgery but they wont start any further treatment, if necessary, until 2 months after the surgery.
    So it will be a long summer.

    Don't know when you are due to be done but best of luck either pre or post or both,


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,163 ✭✭✭✭Calahonda52


    Been a tough few weeks in my head since I last posted.
    Main events were getting the post-consultation letter from the consultant, which read like a reverse spare parts list:D

    The other event was the PCA in the hospital: Pre Clinical Assessment.
    This took a good 4 or 5 hours but it was very informative.
    I now know why the catheter wont fall out while it is in for the week or ten days post op:)

    Got details of the different urinary nappies and why bigger is not necessarily better: it seems more frequent changing is better than less frequent because the pads contain a chemical, when not wet, can cause a skin rash down there:eek:

    Of course that poses the question in my head: how do you dispose of these?
    A half full black bin of them in the current heat would not be an odour free situation I would think.
    Then of course the practical aspects of this if out in restaurants/ friends houses etc....

    The one positive event was enrolling in the DCU MedEX pre-op fitness improvement programme.
    I have attached a single page on this as well as a chart on exercise in general.

    The MedEX programme I am enrolled in is essentially an exercise bootcamp for cancer patients.
    Normally folk get 2 or 3 month notice of their surgery but I did not start this till the 5th, when I did the baseline assessment, followed by 3 supervised gym sessions a week plus a home based exercise session.
    I have my post bootcamp assessment on Tuesday 17th at which point the benefits of the 2 weeks will be measured.
    Apart from the benefits of exercise in general, it seems when under anaesthetic, the heart and lungs are working really hard, so the MedEx is cardio focussed.
    My legs gave out during the baseline test on the bike so that can be improved.
    If the heart or lungs had given out, then its a more difficult fix.

    Heading up to DCU now for a gym session: one more on Monday, baseline test on Tuesday and mack the knife on Wednesday, hopefully home Friday.

    I will know 4 or 5 business days after the op whether they achieved the necessary clear margins so right now I am not looking past May 25rd or so.

    “I can’t pay my staff or mortgage with instagram likes”.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,724 ✭✭✭Metric Tensor


    Good luck tomorrow. Everyone here is rooting for you!


  • Registered Users Posts: 45,797 ✭✭✭✭muffler


    Ditto. Sincere best wishes with it :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,102 ✭✭✭✭Water John


    Just read all the thread. Good luck tomorrow.
    Friend of mine done around Christmas. Used his post op time to plan new projects. He's flying now.
    Best Wishes.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,072 ✭✭✭mass_debater


    Best of luck


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    Hey all. Just reading through the thread myself as I have what I'm told by the doc is prostate trouble on and off for the last few months. I am 30 years old.
    Basically at random times i experience a sort of cramp and pulsating feeling extending from line between belly button and pubic bone sort of back to butt.
    Horrible ache for about an hour after i ejaculate too which is not nice.

    Doc prescribed me ciprofloaxin or something that helped but it came back.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,948 ✭✭✭gizmo555


    upsetbf86 wrote: »
    Hey all. Just reading through the thread myself as I have what I'm told by the doc is prostate trouble on and off for the last few months. I am 30 years old.
    Basically at random times i experience a sort of cramp and pulsating feeling extending from line between belly button and pubic bone sort of back to butt.
    Horrible ache for about an hour after i ejaculate too which is not nice.

    Doc prescribed me ciprofloaxin or something that helped but it came back.

    Sounds like prostatitis - inflamation of the prostate - which can be caused by an infection, hence the antibiotic your doc prescribed to you.

    Had it myself at about your age, it settled down in due course and 22 years later I'm not bothered by it at all. I was also advised by the urologist I saw at the time that it does not increase your risk of prostate cancer. But the best thing to do is to talk about these things with your doctor!


  • Registered Users Posts: 535 ✭✭✭NoCrackHaving


    gizmo555 wrote: »
    Sounds like prostatitis - inflamation of the prostate - which can be caused by an infection, hence the antibiotic your doc prescribed to you.

    Had it myself at about your age, it settled down in due course and 22 years later I'm not bothered by it at all. I was also advised by the urologist I saw at the time that it does not increase your risk of prostate cancer. But the best thing to do is to talk about these things with your doctor!

    Actually there seems to be a correlation between a lower risk of prostate cancer and having experienced prostatitis previously but not a lot of research has been done on it.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,948 ✭✭✭gizmo555


    Actually there seems to be a correlation between a lower risk of prostate cancer and having experienced prostatitis previously but not a lot of research has been done on it.

    Glad to hear it - two of my brothers have already had theirs out!


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    And what ages are they?

    I'll have to go to the doctor again. Going to make an appointment today. Sitting in work getting random spasms every half hour or so that last a minute or so at a time. It's a sharp cramp almost like someone's stretching or trying forcefully to pull something out of you.

    No pain or stinging when I pee though like what happened before christmas. I have since that time, also noticed much reduced volume or even no semen when I ejaculate and then ache for an hour or 2. Has anyone else ever experienced similar?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,948 ✭✭✭gizmo555


    upsetbf86 wrote: »
    And what ages are they?

    They were both in their mid-fifties when they got their diagnosis.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,163 ✭✭✭✭Calahonda52


    Okay,
    Job done on Wednesday.
    Came home yesterday, Friday.
    The surgery side went well, just awaiting the "did he remove enough" lab results.

    Just a brief outline of the few days.
    Dropped off at Mater at 05:45
    Paperwork done soon after 06:00
    Final chat with surgeon, a surgical registrar and a nurse, into the hospital gown and up to theatre for about 06:45
    No hanging around, got the "gas" about 07:00
    Bliss!
    Don't remember anything about the recovery ward, I came to in the semi-private room at about 16:00

    Plenty painkillers so peaceful enough night.
    Thursday passed pretty quickly, was up out of bed at 0800 after breakfast, with short walks every hour.
    Physiotherapist came with breathing exercises.
    Was home by 11:40 on Friday.

    The one downside was the room mate was an ignorant, obnoxious, foul-mouthed man so I couldn't wait to get home.
    The wrinkle was that he had family on the nursing staff on the floor and he thought he owned the gaff, to the extent that his family brought in drink for him.

    The temporary plumbing is taking a while to getting used to: it gets removed on Wednesday and then we will see how "Wet Wet Wet" we will be.

    The surgeon confirmed that I will no longer have a functioning pencil, I knew surgery would mean no more lead in it but he confirmed the rest.

    “I can’t pay my staff or mortgage with instagram likes”.



  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    Hiya CH.

    I'm glad things went well for you. Just wondering, did you have a radical retropubic prostatectomy? Or was is transurethral? I'm assuming the former if the nerves were removed?


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,163 ✭✭✭✭Calahonda52


    upsetbf86 wrote: »
    Hiya CH.

    I'm glad things went well for you. Just wondering, did you have a radical retropubic prostatectomy? Or was is transurethral? I'm assuming the former if the nerves were removed?


    It was certainly radical prostatectomy, but was robotic assisted, keyhole surgery so not zipper surgery so don't know about the sub-categorisations you mention.

    “I can’t pay my staff or mortgage with instagram likes”.



  • Registered Users Posts: 12,163 ✭✭✭✭Calahonda52


    Just got an update from surgeon on the lab results, all clear so no further action, other than regular monitoring required.
    Thanks for all the kind words both public and PM.

    In signing off, if you are male and of the age, or have family history of prostate cancer, get it looked at.

    The one thing I would recommend is that you see a consultant early in the process as they know how to do a proper DRE, a lot of GPs, IMHO, based on the different ones I have had, don't have the skill level or enthusiasm for a full-on DRE.
    In addition, don't take no for an answer if your GP refuses to have the PSA test done.

    My consultant knew from the DRE that I had an issue which needed dealing with, I will , almost, miss them:).

    Hasta la vista, baby:D

    “I can’t pay my staff or mortgage with instagram likes”.



  • Registered Users Posts: 21,102 ✭✭✭✭Water John


    Thanks for your courage in sharing this.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,724 ✭✭✭Metric Tensor


    don't have the skill level or enthusiasm for a full-on DRE.

    One of the best lines I have ever read on boards!

    Congrats Calahonda52 - great news!

    You've given a great service to us all by being so open in this thread.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 28,067 ✭✭✭✭drunkmonkey


    Honda great to hear it's been a success, best of luck with the recovery.

    as a man a big younger than you is there any advice you could give to your younger self that might help one of us to doge this. Did the doctor say anything about diet or lifestyle that could have caused it?


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