So I’ve been hopping on the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s website a bit more recently, just to keep myself abreast of advances in research and what’s happening in the world of treatment options.
Each year, they host a Scientific Retreat with doctors, scientists, and researchers from around the world, and they discuss what’s currently happening in prostate cancer research. Here’s a link to the 2013 meeting’s events and topics:
It provides a summary of what was presented and discussed in each session, much of it in medical mumbo-jumbo over my head, but there was one session’s summary that caught my eye on pages 85-87:
Session 13: Measure Twice, Cut Once—What is the Proper Role for Surgery in Prostate Cancer 2013?
Obviously, having had a radical prostatectomy, it’s an interesting read for me (not that I can change anything at this point).
I have to admit that there are days where I’m not so sure that I would make the same treatment decision if newly diagnosed today, given the recent advancements in the forty months since my diagnosis.
Don’t get me wrong. My quality of life, post-prostatectomy, is quite high. My stress incontinence issues are a minor nuisance, and my sexual function issues would be a bigger factor if I were in a relationship, but I’m not. I guess I’d be happier if I were 100% in both departments.
So I often weigh those nuisances against the larger picture. With each six month PSA check-up that comes back “undetectable,” I have peace of mind knowing that the cancer is no longer inside me.
The question becomes one of trading one set of concerns for another.
If I opted for some other treatment option and was 100% continent and had 100% sexual function, I’d be happy in both those departments, but then would I be trading that happiness for worrying every day that the cancer cells left inside me (even though they’ve been treated with chemo, radiation, hormones, or something else), are one day going to go crazy and ultimately do me in? I don’t know.
It’s a tough call, and a very personal choice.
Again, I made my decision and am living with its consequences. But the key word is living.