It’s important to note that I’m not advocating one treatment option over another, as every case is different.
In my case, I opted for surgery. And it’s now 5-years since that surgery. Surgery aims to remove the prostate with clear margins and not leave any prostate tissue behind. Since the prostate is the only organ that produces PSA, there should be no more PSA in the body a few months after surgery. Afterwards, any rise without a prostate suggests that prostate cells survived treatment. These cells could multiply and spread.
Therefore, monitoring my PSA for the rest of my life is critical. And for the first 4-years after surgery, my PSA was undetectable, with a reading of <0.008. And then, it started to rise slightly to 0.010, 0.012, and the latest reading of 0.015. After speaking with my doctor and urologist, they have no concerns, as the results are still very low. Although they did indicate that if my PSA continues to rise and reaches 0.20 or above, I will need to seek secondary treatment.
Follow-up testing and fear of recurrence
Needless to say, I get very anxious when it’s time for a follow-up PSA test. And prostate cancer recurrence is on my mind, especially whenever I have a new ache or pain. And I’ve had my fair share of cancer scares with new lumps in my breast and groin. For more details, please read my article, Gogs’ Right Breast, Groin, and PSA.
Thankfully, the lump in my breast turned out to be an infection. And the lump in my groin turned out to be a hernia.
Unresolved rib pain and follow-up scans
I’ve been dealing with rib pain that impacts my sleep and mobility. However, I’m thrilled to say that a follow-up bone and CT scan with complete bloodwork indicate that I’m still in the clear from cancer recurrence! For now, I’m waiting for an appointment with a pain specialist. Hopefully, the source of the rib pain is something minor and fixable. However, knowing the pain is not cancer-related makes it more bearable.
It’s official — I’m 5-years NED after prostate cancer surgery!
Since it’s impossible to know if my low level of PSA comes from healthy PSA cells left over after treatment or cancerous cells, it’s impossible to say if I’m cancer-free. That’s why I prefer the term “NED,” which stands for No Evidence of Disease. However, with clear scans, and since my PSA is still below recurrence, I can officially say I am now 5-years NED!
And 5-years is a significant milestone, and I’m over the moon happy about the news! And as a matter of fact, Mother Nature was also very excited for me! To help me celebrate, she provided a snowstorm in the middle of spring. And it was heavy and thick! Although it didn’t last long, I managed to get outside to enjoy myself and take pictures. And I loved every minute of it!
Celebrating 5-years NED video
Please watch my YouTube video named 5-years NED, and stay until the end to see me in the snowstorm, complete with music!
I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my prostate cancer diagnosis and lessons learned. You can listen to all my medical posts under Gogs’ Medical Testing.
If you’re newly diagnosed with prostate cancer and live in Canada please request a free Reef Knot Kit from Prostate Cancer Foundation Canada. Each kit contains a copy of my book, Prostate Cancer Strikes: Navigating the Storm. For more details, please read the Announcement in my local paper.