This Afternoon in Cancer

Oct 17 2011 Lupron injection

Lupron: Kim, mixing it up -- and getting the lumps out

A full afternoon at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance today: the daily radiation treatment, the weekly visit with the radiation oncologist, the quarterly check-in with my oncologist.

  • PSA test results came in at “undetectable,” which you’d largely expect, given my hormone-suppression therapy. Prior reading, in July, which was pre-hormone therapy, was 0.11. So that means PSA is down.
  • Radiation treatment #20 — check that box. I’m now solidly past the halfway point on the way to 36.
  • Another Lupron injection, which, with my Casodex pills, will keep my testosterone fully suppressed for the next three months. Upside: hot flashes in winter.
  • My oncologist said today’s Lupron shot would be the last for now. I’ll see him again in January for a quarterly check-up and a PSA test — but no more Lupron and no more Casodex after that.
  • And my radiation oncologist said he’s happy, which makes me happy, too. I reported to him that the few side effects from my salvage radiation have, so far, been mild and manageable.

And what, exactly, is salvage radiation? Bob Grindeland posed the question in his comment on my prior post, and that set me off to find an answer. I realized that while it’s a term I’ve heard, read and even used, I’d never pursued a medical definition. After all, “salvage” seemed to convey so much. Maybe even too much: say, the image of saving a ship from being battered on the rocks. But since Bob asked, here goes…

The National Cancer Institute defines salvage as “treatment that is given after the cancer has not responded to other treatments” — in my case, surgery.

The dictionary definition of salvage is more in the vernacular: “the rescue of property or material from potential loss or destruction.” Like salvaging a ship from being battered on the rocks.

Or salvaging me from cancer.

About Bill Curry

Stage 4 prostate cancer

5 Responses to “This Afternoon in Cancer”

  1. Never mentioned in a blog before (to my knowledge) so I’m suitably honored — though given a preference I’d prefer your blog were about your experiences with puppies or trips around the world. Nevertheless, things sound like they are progressing positively, and I couldn’t be happier.


  2. It makes your Doc happy, it makes you happy and it makes me happy too! Chuck

  3. Terrific, Bill! Way to go! Things are going the right way. So good that your PSA was undectable er undetectable! The good positive vibes I am sending you are definitely better than my spelling! Hooray!

  4. Funny you should send this update today. Have been thinking a lot about you and what you are going through. Sounds like you are doing great. My continued good wishes are being sent to you.
    All the Best,

  5. Bill;

    All the stars are starting to align-keep up the good work. Don’t sweat the ‘salvage’ term too much-the medical world is somewhat intolerant of imperfection-so when they can’t provide what they consider an absolute ‘cure’, the therapy is couched in less lofty and perhaps disparaging terms. It may be simply a matter of medical pride, sad as that is to admit.

    Anyway we are all behind you, and know there is a silent army pushing you gently forward.

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