Regular readers of this blog will remember that I recently had been off my bicycle for a few weeks for blood tests and biopsies related to my prostate.
Since then I’ve received quite a few supportive messages, which I certainly appreciate, and I have returned to regularly riding my bike.
Unfortunately, I also received news from my urologist earlier this week that my prostate biopsy was positive. There’s a tumor on the right side and my urologist is recommending complete removal of the prostate.
Good news – bad news
The good news is that we’ve caught this very early in the process. The tests show it is in the early stages and chances are it is confined to the prostate. There are many treatment methods available, but the most effective and lasting appear to be surgery. I’m all for that.
The bad news is that recovery from surgery will probably keep me off the bicycle for a greater part of the fall. So much for my plans to knock out 4,000 miles this year.
Other side effects of surgery — such as incontinence and impotence — are uncertain, but appear to be worth the risk when compared to the alternative.
Until I got this diagnosis, I thought I knew enough about cancer. While interviewing my doctor, however, I learned that I didn’t know nearly enough and I’ve been searching through the Internet (links below).
If you have any experience with prostate cancer and have some input, I’d certainly like to hear from you. Here are a couple of important details about my condition:
First, the cancer has not spread beyond the prostate. This is very good news. There are a number of “stages”, and mine is T1c. That means the doctors didn’t notice it in a digital rectal exam, and they performed the biopsy because of the elevated PSA.
In the biopsy, the patholigist grades the cancer cells to determine how fast it will spread. My score was a 6 out of a possible 10, meaning it has a moderate rate of growth.
There are several methods to treat prostate cancer. The most common these days seem to be radiation therapy, hormones, surgery and watchful waiting. Because of my relatively young age (57), the location of the cancer, and the fact that I’m trim and fit due to so much bicycling, the doctor has recommended surgery.
Ten years ago, that would have meant a long incision in my abdomen and lots of blood.
Technology has progressed, and my doctor is one of the local practitioners on the da Vinci Surgical System. Essentially it involves a small incision for a laproscope and four other incisions where tiny robotic arms controlled by the surgeon will be inserted. This is best chance for a quick recovery. Technically, this is a called a robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy.
Based on the grade and stage of my prostate cancer, a prostatectomy gives me gives me a 99-100% chance of surving prostate cancer after 1 year, 96-97% after five years, and 91% after 10 years.
Because this cancer was caught early, my chances for survival are good across all types of treatment.
I don’t know of any connection between bicycling and prostate cancer, except for the fact that it’s going to keep me out of the saddle when I go in for surgery later next month.
That makes it a bicycling issue for me, and I plan to keep reporting on it through the fall and winter… as long as it takes me to get back to taking decent bike rides again. Maybe my experiences can help inform others.
Here are some links that I’ve searched for more information: