Ask a nurse

Do you have a question about cancer? Our Digital Nurse Ellen or one of our specialist nurses will aim to respond within 2 working days.

Scan results

liz-b
Posted by

Just wondering what latest scan can tell us - my husband had a radical prostatectomy about 5 years ago and was told it would likely spread again through the lymph glands - now his PSA level has shot up over  the last few months so he has had another scan - results in 2 weeks,  He already takes Bicalutamide and a series of other meds and was so badly affected he had to have a double mastectomy at one point,  He is very difficult to live with!   I don't know if he will be offered treatment, other medication, or what his condition will be from now on.  He is very robust and tough and eats a healthy diet - 70 years old.  Had cancer three times already and many other ailments.

E

KateG - Macmillan
Posted by

Hi Liz

Thank you for getting back in touch. I see that you had posted last year about your husbands PSA levels and Josie had given the link to our information at that point.

If prostate cancer comes back, he would normally be offered radiotherapy and hormone treatments. If these are not suitable or no longer control the cancer, they may look at other treatments or newer treatments that are available. It might help to have a look at these treatments before he sees his specialist.

His specialist has his medical notes and the results of all his tests and will be aware of the rise in PSA levels. They will look at this and any other health issues to see if he is suitable for any treatment.

When someone close to you has cancer its important that you look after yourself as well. There is carers group on our online community, this is a safe and supportive place to share your worries and emotions. Sometimes it helps to get support from other people who understand how you are feeling.

It can help to talk to one of our nurses on our Support Line about what is happening. Our lines are open Monday to Sunday 8am till 8pm. If you're calling from outside of the UK you can contact us on +44 207 091 2230. Please note that calls to these numbers are not free when made from outside the UK

I hope this is helpful. Please do get back in touch if we can be of any more help.

Best wishes

Kate

Macmillan Information Nurse Specialist.

liz-b
Posted by

I still can't understand how prostate cancer can come back when the prostate gland has been removed altogether  - at the time of the operation the specialist said it had spread to the lymph glands - surely then it becomes a different cancer? 

Thanks for  your answer but I remain puzzled.

He couldn't have any more radiotherapy and already takes quite strong hormone treatment - bicalutamide.  

Liz

E

Bill - Macmillan
Posted by

Hello, Liz. It can be tricky to visualize how cancer manages to come back and I’m not surprised that you find the whole thing puzzling.

Technically, cells that have spread beyond the place where they first developed DO have a different name : they are metastatic cancer cells. The thing is that they still behave purely like prostate cancer cells no matter where they go in the body. That’s why they still produce PSA which is known as a tumour marker. It’s also why doctors use hormone therapies like bicalutamide- it very specifically targets prostate cancer. By keeping an eye on PSA levels your husband’s doctors will be able to see how well any treatment is working.

I hope that this information helps make things a bit clearer. As my colleague Kate said in her earlier reply, please feel free to give us a call on the Macmillan Support Line if you’d like to speak to an experienced cancer information nurses. – Best wishes, Bill (Cancer Information Nurse)

liz-b
Posted by

OK thanks very much - we are very pleased as his recent scan came back all clear for cancer so the PSA -- which has been rising - seems to be a bit of a red herring.   He was told he had 2 years to live and that was 5 years ago so the bicalutamide, campaign to eat healthy food and live a healthy life style seem to have done the trick at present.   

The bicalutamide was drastic and had the effect of him growing breasts which he found difficult to cope with so he had to have a double mastectomy.

I can understand why they do so much research into this strange disease.

Thanks again for your support

Liz

E