Apologies for not providing an update sooner. Unfortunately, nearly six months after receiving treatment in Germany, I do not know whether or not it was successful. Here’s what I do know:
I had a follow up MRI three months post treatment (as Dr. Weber suggested) but all that the MRI showed was that there were still tumors in my prostate. What the MRI couldn’t do was detect whether or not the tumors were still cancerous. My initial expectation that the MRI would find the tumors gone three months after the treatment was not a valid expectation, but only an assumption I made. The transurethral hyperthermia treatment doesn’t remove, obliterate or burn up the tumor, but it is supposed to raise the temperature of the prostate just high enough to kill cancer cells, while not harming healthy cells. While transurethral hyperthermia is not purported to kill 100% of the cancer cells, the other supplemental treatments (hormone block, immune boost therapy, etc.) combined are supposed to increase the likelihood of getting it all, or, at least buy the maximum amount of remission time. Then the procedure can be repeated, if necessary, with no harmful side effects — other than that on your wallet, I suppose.
On a positive note, the MRI showed no change in the size of the tumors, whereas the two previous MRI’s before the Germany procedure, showed the tumors getting bigger from one image to the next, so the ‘no growth’ was good news to me.
Dr Weber said that it takes about six months to get the full effect from the treatment, and all the doctors agree that follow up PSA blood tests are not accurate to gauge the effectiveness because the transurethral hyperthermia treatment doesn’t destroy the prostate so the healthy portions will continue to make PSA. Given that I received a hormone block and am now taking oral Finasteride, my upcoming six month PSA won’t likely won’t tell us much. The Finasteride is chemically lowering my PSA so a low result will be a result of the drug. Of course, if I see a a drastic increase, it would not bode well.
My PSA results are lower than before my treatment in Germany, yet it is still elevated vs normal. My local urologist is telling us that the only way to truly test the efficacy of the treatment I received in Germany is to have another biopsy at the end of this year, although other prostate specialists insist there are less invasive means of predicting what the cancer is doing, and I agree.
I am very reluctant to have yet another needle biopsy, as I believe that the procedure itself is damaging and could possibly even spread the cancer (via needle tracking.) My local urologist says that there are no definitive medical studies to support this concern, but traditional medical doctors don’t necessarily agree or care about damaging the prostate because their goal is to remove or destroy it to get at the cancer.
My next step is to finish my current course of Finasteride, ensuring it is out of my system so as not to confound the results, then get another PSA (and several other predictive tests) to assess the effectiveness of the treatments I received in Germany. If results indicate I need to do something more invasive, I will. If not, I wont.
More to come …