Not the worst news

Preface: I emailed the following to immediate family. I have reformatted it a bit, but there is no new information, so they can skip this post. For the rest of my extensive readership, I should explain that I wrote this originally on my phone, hence the reference to auto-correct.

My beloved and I saw Pat Bowden, the radiation oncologist, today. The news was not too bad. The main points:

  1. The PSA is still elevated; I didn’t write down the score, but from memory it is 3.9 or so.
  2. However, the rate of increase is slower than before. This shows that the radiotherapy has had an effect. This effect can continue and increase over 6-12 months. Therefore what Pat suggested was to have another PSA test in 3 months, to see where we are then.
  3. The main aim of the radiation therapy was to delay having hormone therapy. Apparently only 30% of RT patients need to go on to hormone therapy. The side effects of hormone therapy (also known as androgen deprivation therapy) can be such that delaying it is a good thing. Also I gather that the more treatments that are used, the fewer shots that remain in the locker.
  4. The next PSA test will determine what happens next. Sound familiar? It is really like a game of snakes and ladders. I guess this was a lake, or possibly a snadder. (God knows what auto-correct will do with that.)
  5. Question: Could I have another round of RT?
    Answer: Yes. However, this is contingent on another elevated PSA test, then a further PET scan to show what spots need zapping and where they are. Only patients with 5 or fewer spots can have RT. Otherwise the spots just come back elsewhere. If more than 5, it’s time for ADT.

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