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Interview 42

Age at interview: 51
Age at diagnosis: 50
Brief Outline: Diagnosed with prostate cancer 2000, short hormone treatment, brachytherapy and conformal beam radiation 2000.
Background:

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Describes his Brachytherapy treatment supplemented by conformal beam radiation in the USA.

Describes his Brachytherapy treatment supplemented by conformal beam radiation in the USA.

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I should explain that the way that the Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia work is that they use Brachytherapy supplemented by conformal beam radiation so there's Brachytherapy which is the insertion of permanent radioactive seeds into the prostate followed by a period of 6 or 7 weeks external conformal beam radiation.

And how are the seeds actually put into the prostate?

The way the seeds are put into the prostate is that the urologist, through the back passage inserts needles into the prostate and then the oncologist pushes the seeds along the needles and then the needles are withdrawn and the seeds are left inside the prostate. It's a very difficult job to do well because its very important to space the seeds correctly because if they're bunched together and not evenly distributed then you can get what they call cold spots, in other words areas in the prostate that are not sufficient irradiated. Anyway the placing of the seeds is absolutely key and they have to be put in very precisely. And it's up to about 100 seeds that they put in.

Did you start to have any side effects from the conformal radiation?

I had some tiredness may be about half way through and that happened to something like 20% of the patients but it was very mild and I didn't really have any, I did have some, may be some problems with bowel movements to some extent but that was the only area that I had any problems with and it was nothing serious.

And how long do these seeds go on giving out radiation?

So they have a half life of 60 days, that means that every 60 days they lose half of their strength so I guess you could say after a year that they've pretty much petered out.

So what happened after that?

So after that I was required to go back, I was required to have a PSA test after 3 months and then after another 3 months and thereafter every 6 months. The PSA test that I had immediately before the biopsy was 4.4 and I've had since then 2 PSA tests. The first one I had in November and the PSA had gone down to 1.0 and I've just had another PSA test and it's gone down to 0.26 (laughs). 

 

Describes his attempts to increase the amount of Soya in his diet.

Describes his attempts to increase the amount of Soya in his diet.

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I've started to consume quite a lot of Soya which is very beneficial, I use Soya milk quite a lot. I eat a lot of like soy yoghurt for example, I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables particularly, I particularly like cabbage and Brussels sprouts, broccoli those sorts of things and I try to exercise, I like swimming and I swim twice a week at least. I try to do something with the weight, I try to limit drinking alcohol to reasonable levels, those sorts of things.

So all this was to try to improve your health in general

In general

It wasn't specific to prostate cancer?

No but I learnt that there are certain things that are very beneficial for the prostate particularly lycopenes, I think selenium is very, very beneficial, from what I've read, selenium is very beneficial and also tomato paste is very good.
 
 

Describes the complementary therapy, Saw Palmetto.

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Describes the complementary therapy, Saw Palmetto.

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Have you tried any other alternative therapies as well or complementary therapies?

Complementary therapies no not really.

I haven't, there's Saw Palmetto. Okay the guidelines on that from the clinic I went to is that the main marker is the PSA so if you take Saw Palmetto or some of these other products you get a reduction in your PSA but if something is going to affect your PSA you should may be not take it because the move in the PSA is what you're relying on to let you know how you're doing.

How do you spell Saw Palmetto?

Saw Palmetto it's SAW, one word, PALMETTO and it's a product made from a particular kind of palm tree or a fruit of a palm tree or something like that.

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