Since his early 50’s, Harvey Slobod always ensured he didn’t miss a yearly health checkup, which included a digital exam. It proved a little bit uncomfortable, however, it was necessary to check the health of the prostate.
After his August 2017 exam in his 72nd year, his GP suggested follow-up with a Urologist, as something didn’t feel right. The Urologist confirmed his fears when he agreed that one side felt a little hard, which was not normal. This was followed up with a prostate biopsy. Twelve samples were taken at that time, all of which came back positive, and the confirmation of prostate cancer was announced. The Gleason reading was a 9 on all samples.
This led to an MRI, a Bone Scan, a CT scan, registering with the Cancer Centre, meeting with the Urologist for information, meeting with a GP for further information, meeting with 2 radiation oncologists at the Cancer Centre, and reading a volume of material on the various options.
What Harvey didn’t know at the time was that Prostate cancer is a cancer that generally develops over a long period of time and progresses very slowly, thus one doesn’t have to make a quick decision on which route to follow. There are a number of options. Surgical prostate removal, Hormone Therapy, Radiation Therapy, in some cases Chemo Therapy, Brachytherapy (seed implant), and in mild cases, watchful waiting. The ultimate decision, however, rests with the patient once familiar with the various procedures and possible side effects. It’s a frightening transition because there are so many unknowns.
Harvey chose triple treatment, as his cancer was considered high risk. This included Anti Androgen Hormone shots over a one year period and 23 sessions of External Beam Radiation, followed by 83 seeds implanted on the prostate by way of a surgical procedure called Brachytherapy. This was all completed in the Summer of 2018.
Of course, there are some side effects including erectile dysfunction, which could change over time, mild urinary issues, occasional hot flashes, some minor mood swings, visits to the washroom a few times during the night, and some weight gain issues.
Harvey’s philosophy is to stay positive, exercise within your limitations, and enjoy life. The body slowly repairs itself over time, but learn to live with your New Normal. Sharing your experience with others is good therapy and may just help someone who has been newly diagnosed.