This piece ran this week on the Harvard Health Blog.
the Prostate Health Index blood test, combines measures of three forms of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) into a score that helps doctors predict if a cancer is likely to progress, with an aim to circumvent biopsies that aren’t necessary.
Click HERE to go to the story.
This latest write-up from Bob Marckini is so chock full of interesting information and developments, I thought this would be worth reprinting. This is the latest newsletter from the “Brotherhood of the Balloon” group.
When I chose proton therapy for my prostate cancer almost 16 years ago, I did so for two primary reasons: 1) After exhaustive research, I truly believed my chances for disease-free survival with proton therapy were at least as good as surgery or any other major treatment option, and likely better, because the margins around the prostate were also targeted by the proton beam, and 2) After interviewing literally dozens of former patients, I was convinced that my chances of maintaining urinary function and sexual potency were best with proton.
There was also a third reason I chose proton: Believing that the quality of my life would be significantly better with proton therapy, I rationalized that, even if I had a recurrence five, 10 or 20 years later, research would likely produce new ways to deal with returning cancer. Meanwhile, the quality of my life would be excellent.
How right I was.
In the past few years there has been an explosion of new technologies relating to prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment. New imaging technologies, such as 3-Tesla multi-parametric MRI, color Doppler ultrasound, C-11 Acetate PET Scan and C-11 Choline PET scan, to name a few, are able to detect minute traces of cancer.
The Opko 4K score, Prostate Health Index, ConfirmMDx, genomic tests that measure the molecular biology of a patient’s prostate cancer and a new test to determine the presence of exosomes (chemical messengers) have been developed. These tests help greatly in cancer detection as well as determining the level of aggressiveness.
In 2015, the FDA approved 45 new drugs, the most in two decades. And 225 are expected to be approved over the next five years. New drugs and drug combinations have been discovered that can slow or stop the progression of recurrent cancer. And new, or upgraded, targeted therapies, such as focal laser ablation (FLA), focal cryotherapy, and high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) can be used to treat some cancerous lesions. Also, advances in proton therapy have allowed the pencil beam to be used to treat certain recurrences.
The new imaging technologies are not only extremely useful in identifying recurrent cancer “hotspots” for targeted treatment, they are also very helpful in identifying lesions within the prostate to help target biopsies when diagnosing primary prostate cancer, which will ultimately lead to the elimination of the old-fashioned “blind” biopsy.
All this has happened within the past few years. One can only imagine what breakthrough diagnostic tests, therapies, and drugs will come along in the next few years. Once again, this reinforces the concept of selecting a treatment that maintains quality of life, knowing that new developments and new technologies are coming along that will significantly improve doctors’ ability to pinpoint and treat recurrent cancer.
In this month’s BOB Tales, we will provide an overview of some of the new prostate cancer tests available and documented in Health & Wellness and The Wall Street Journal. Over the next few months, our guest writer, BOB member, Dr. Pat Greany, Deb, and I will be summarizing some of the more promising of these new technologies, many of which are already in practice at some of the leading medical centers in the U.S.
Learning about these tests is critically important, especially to our friends and family members, many of whom may be subjecting themselves to older technologies that don’t provide the benefits of these latest developments. Stay tuned.
I hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter. As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions for future newsletters. Just send an email to DHickey@protonbob.com.
I’m the “younger” nephew of this web site’s owner (Jim Tuggey), and manage the web site, administer the WordPress blog software, and generally take care of all things tech. Our web site just hit 10 years, and it’s been very rewarding to provide this public service for others who are faced with anything related to cancer and/or the prostate. As a consequence, I’ve learned a lot about prostate cancer!
So imagine my surprise (and the irony) when I recently learned of having a high PSA reading (6.5 ng/mL). At 53, I knew I had been putting off the big physical you should undertake when you turn 50 – so I finally got off my butt and went in for my checkup. Unfortunately, it had been five years since I had last had a physical, so I didn’t have a baseline PSA reading to compare. (Now in Denver, I called my doctor’s office in Atlanta who informed me my records were in long term storage).
One thing was clear: I had a peace of mind knowing that if I needed serious treatment, proton therapy was the likely avenue I would pursue.
Off to the Urologist I went, and I liked the doctor I found – Dr. Alexander Philpott of the Urology Center of Colorado (TUCC). What transpired next was fairly typical – an exam, and recommendation of a biopsy, and then the biopsy itself. My exam was normal, but the out of the blue 6.5 with no prior baseline led Dr. Philpott to his biopsy recommendation. From 12 samples, we learned that there was no signs of cancer. While I knew right away that my PSA of 6.5 was not a death sentence, I also know that a negative biopsy might not mean I’m free and clear. So I’ll have to pay much closer attention to this moving forward.
In my next post, I’d like to write about a book that Bob Marckini recommended to me: Prostate Cancer Breakthroughs 2014 – New Tests, New Treatments and Better Options. It has the potential to be a another game changer, just like Proton Therapy has been. The screening and pre-treatment choices are advancing at a rapid pace, and if you’re at the stage where you are facing undergoing a procedure, this book is a must read.
Long ago when I started this web site, I decided to do it for free and only feature my own experiences with Protons and the experiences of other Proton treated Cancer survivors, both men and women.
If you have been treated with Protons for any cancer, I would welcome your comments. The interesting fact is that we started with one busy source in the USA (Loma Linda) and now our country has more than 20 treatment centers.
My wife of 59 years passed away in January 2014 and I can assure you that she was an advocate for using Protons as we saw more and more success.
The bottom line is that Protons have allowed me this victory over “Prostate Cancer” and I have seen the birth of a young lady in our family and two more children.
My thanks goes out to Bob Marckini and his daughter, who get the latest information to us. My treatment was with Dr. Carl Rossi at Loma Linda and his wonderful Case Manager at the time Sharon. These folks and many others made sure that the Proton did the job and it’s hard to remember that it was over on August 27, 1999.
The awards from Healthline stating that we had two separate “Blogs” due to excellence, reflecting on Mr. Jay Rolls, my nephew, who provides his business and technical genius that allows me to get the word out there to all of you.
I hope the rest of 2014 and the arrival of 2015 move this effort ever forward and I can answer with confidence emails from potential patients and add to the great and detailed information now available, including the Videos on this website.
PS – I still have NO side effects from the Proton since treatment in 1999.
Hello to any man who has learned he has prostate cancer and now must decide what treatment option to select and where that treatment should be provided. The quick answer is PROTON TREATMENT at Loma Linda University Medical Center’s Proton Treatment Therapy Center (LLUMC). Call 1-800-776-8667.
In my case, my local urologist called in April of 2012 with the news that my prostate biopsy showed cancer. Gleason score was 3+4 for a total of 7. PSA was 9. (Current PSA is 0.37)
The decision for treatment was easy. My brother-in-law owner of this blog, Jim Tuggey, had gone to Loma Linda in 1999 for proton treatment of his prostate cancer and has been singing the praises of the treatment and the people ever since.
So I called the above number, sent the necessary medical records, flew to Southern California for a first meeting, came home and packed. My wife Judy and I drove to Loma Linda for my first treatment in mid-June of that year.
The nine weeks we spent at LLUMC was one of the best vacations we ever had and we have traveled a lot. The people at LLUMC are wonderful – they truly care. The treatment each day, five days a week, normally took little time, leaving the rest of the day for any activity of our choosing. The get-togethers on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings were great times. The housing options were superb. And the other patients represent people who searched out several options of treatment, and did not simply accept the recommendation of the urologist back home and decided that proton treatment is the better option.
You are encouraged to do the same.
email@example.com or 501-922-4311
This just in from the UF Proton Therapy Institute – I’ve coped their table below. As they state:
“Part of the decision-making process is to learn each treatment’s potential for cure (disease control) and for maintaining a good quality of life after treatment. The following table shows the most current prostate cancer patient outcomes data available for both proton therapy and surgery.”
Thanks to my old flight instructor “Doc” Harkins for passing this along…….
||Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer
||Surgery for Prostate Cancer
|Major complication rate
|Long Recovery Time
|30-day mortality rate
Percent of patients who experience a change post treatment
*Disease control is defined as freedom from clinical or PSA progression at five years.
**1% per Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) v4.0; 5.3% per CTCAE v3.0
1.Mendenhall, NP et al. Five-Year Outcomes from 3 Prospective Trials of Image-Guided Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer. Int J Radiation Oncol Biol Phys 2014 March; 88(3):596-602.
2.Han, M et al. Long-Term Biochemical Disease-Free and Cancer-Specific Survival Following Anatomic Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy: The 15-Year Johns Hopkins Experience. Urol Clin North Am 2001 Aug; 28(3):555-65.
3.Qi, P et al. Long-Term Oncological Outcomes of Men Undergoing Radical Prostatectomy With Preoperative Prostate-Specific Antigen <2.5 ng/ml and 2.5-4 ng/ml. Urol Oncol 2013 Nov; 31(8):1527-32.
4.Treatment Option Overview for Prostate Cancer, Health Professional Version. Retrieved Aug. 28, 2013.
5.Bishoff JT et al. Incidence of fecal and urinary incontinence following radical perineal and retropubic prostatectomy in a national population. J Urol 160 (2): 454-8, 1998.
3.7.14 Reviewed by Nancy P. Mendenhall, M.D.
MARCH 2014 is here and there is a lot said in the latest “Bob Tales”. (LINK HERE)
How lucky we are to have a smart, dedicated man in Bob Marckini who is always up to date on the status of protons. Bob has developed a complete program with the support of the Loma Linda team and we are all benefitting from his hard work.
Deb Hickey is right there keeping the show on the road and we winners in the Prostate Cure race are exceedingly happy with the results. Results count and given that, we already accept the impact of what has really been the impacts using “Protons”, vis a vis the crowd of “Naysayers”.
I have full faith in the use of Protons and our input broadens each time a new person reports “Proton” success. Here I am about to reach 85 and have no Prostate issues.
My personal burden has been lifted thanks to Jay Rolls, a close relation, who knows how to write English and manage much of the Technical side of “Charter” in Denver. He administers this site for me.
If you can call me between 8:30am and 5:30pm, I should be here to talk.
Looking for happy results!
Jim Tuggey, Colonel, USA Army retired
Here’s an interesting article about a prostate cancer patient and how he dealt with his treatment options within the UK. Link to article is HERE. Without any options to obtain proton treatment inside his own country, he turned to a treatment center on the European continent – over in Prague, Czech Republic.
Jim Tuggey here on February 28th 2014. When you look at the spread of Proton facilities in our country and recognize the growing company of other Proton Centers that exist in other countries, it really weakens the case for the “Naysayers”. I have no cancer in my “prostate” and can round up quite a list of men who have had the same success with the “Proton”. That does not even take into account the other successes using Protons that are not Prostate issues but a much wider scope of challenges that have been met for men and women! My colleagues and I delight in the fact that Loma Linda met the challenge when so many expressed doubt. I think I counted nineteen Proton centers in our country and more to come.
I thought it would be helpful to readers and visitors to have a visual map of the proton treatment centers around the US. Many people will want to know geographically where the nearest center is to their home, and this gives you a quick glance of both centers in operations, as well as those that are under construction. If you notice a center that is missing, please let us know – post a comment to this blog post.
We grant others permission to use these graphics as long as you give credit back to ProstateBlog.com.
Click on the Map for a larger version. For a list of all the facilities and links to their web pages, you can go HERE.