Foreword: Previously I told of the day I found that I had prostate cancer. I have decided to take you along with me on my journey to try and conquer the disease so that if you are a male or have a spouse or close friend who is a male, you may better understand what they are experiencing and can help your loved one with their journey through the disease.
It was an ordinary day. Just got another call from Dr. Seiber who is my urologist and cancer specialist as far as I'm concerned. He had the results from my genetic testing and thought he would call immediately, since it will make my decision a bit easier as to what I will do to eradicate the prostate cancer from my body. On my last visit to see him my wife and I talked to him about the advantages and disadvantages of radiation therapy. We knew he didn't do the procedure, but still wanted to ask his opinion. He said that many of his patients have chosen radiation and the biggest problem with the procedure is the length involved in the treatment as well as a few side effects that can occur. We then discussed total removal of the prostate and the side effects that can result from that procedure. Then I asked him to tell me about another option for treatment which I had read about in a brochure that was offered to me from his practice. Procedure is known as Cryosurgery or Cryotherapy. He told us that this is an option that he could offer. At first I wondered why he had not told me about it until he said, "I don't like to push this option on anyone, since I am the one in our practice who does the procedure and didn't want you to feel obligated to use the procedure." He then told me that cryosurgery, cryotherapy or cryoablation uses a needle-thin probe or needle that is inserted into the prostate gland. He would use visual information produced by ultrasound to guide him. A freezing liquid such as liquid nitrogen or argon gas is infused into the prostate gland. The intense cold freezes the prostate and destroys any cancerous tissue it contains. Using the ultrasound he can identify the cancer tissue and limit damage to the normal prostate tissue. After the cancer cells are destroyed, the white blood cells clean up the dead cells and tissue. Since the urethra is surrounded by the prostate gland, a warm saline solution flows through a catheter to prevent damage to it. I told him I had never heard of it before. He said he has been doing the procedure for about ten years and has had great success with the procedure. And, I would have no radiation problems. Naturally there are side effects with any treatment and the same side effects occur with cryosurgery. He told me that if I had radiation treatments first and they didn't work, cryosurgery can be done at that point, but do not have as good a chance of total cancer removal as if I have the cryosurgery as my first choice. Well, I headed home once again knowing that I now have another viable option which is making my decision more complex. Then, the phone call came from Dr. Seiber with the news of my genetic testing. Seems I have the BRCA2 gene which puts me in a high risk for prostate cancer, breast cancer as well as melanoma. The %s are much, much higher than if I didn't have the gene and therefore I should make sure my children know so they too can have the genetic testing done to see if they have inherited the gene and can begin annual testing to be on the safe side. Also told me that the radiation therapy is off the table as far as he is concerned, since the radiation may trigger other cancers due to the BRAC2 gene. My choice has been made after our conversation. I have chosen the Cryosurgery/Cryotherapy to eliminate my prostate cancer. Am I scared or worried yet? Let's just say I'm concerned .... REALLY CONCERNED!! Next step .... beginning the treatment. Follow as I begin the process leading up to the procedure. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.