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:
- The PSA is still elevated; I didn’t write down the score, but from memory it is 3.9 or so.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.