In this blog PCRI presents an interview from our contributing partner, Prostatepedia.
Prostatepedia spoke with Dr. E. David Crawford at length about bone metastases in prostate cancer. Here is the interview:
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Cancer that spreads outside the prostate gland is what makes prostate cancer dangerous. Metastatic prostate cancer cells cause malfunction by impeding normal function. Some organs, like lymph nodes for example, continue to function quite nicely, even if the degree of cancer spread is extensive. Lymph node spread, therefore, is the least dangerous form of prostate cancer metastases. At the other end of the spectrum is the liver, which is far less tolerant. The seriousness of bone metastases, the most common site of prostate cancer spread, lies about half way between that of node metastases and liver metastases.
Eight years ago, at the age of 55, I learned I had prostate cancer. At that time, ignoring three separate doctors’ recommendations, I decided to forego surgery. One of my doctors, a urologist, gave me the name of a patient who was on active surveillance. I contacted Brad Cole and our conversation gave me the courage to try it myself.
In my last blog I contended that of all the different ways to treat cancer—hormone therapy, chemotherapy, radiation or surgery for example—immune therapy has the greatest potential to save lives: Only the immune system, by its very nature, has the ability to adapt to the many thousands of varieties of cancer. Also, new breakthroughs in understanding how it works have led to real progress inharnessing the immune system to fight cancer.
The majority of radical treatment decisions are made on the basis and results of PSA testing. PSA or Prostate-Specific Antigen, is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in the blood. Due to the dangers of overtreatment some experts have proposed forgoing PSAtesting altogether. However, this attitude is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, since early diagnosis and treatment of high-grade prostate cancer unquestionably improves survival and quality of life.
Prior to being biopsied, you need to be aware that almost half of all men diagnosed with prostate cancer have a chronic Low-Risk type, a condition which, according to my writing partner, prostate oncologist Mark Scholz, doesn’t really deserve to be called “cancer” and can be safely monitored without immediate treatment. This reassuring knowledge helps to diffuse the inevitable fear that comes with a cancer diagnosis.