EC Blog by: Clark Rassi
For men diagnosed with prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, the 5 year survival rate is 29%. Prostate cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States. It is estimated that 26,730 deaths from this disease will occur this year.
I shared my story about prostate cancer on Facebook, and the response was unbelievable. About one year ago, I knew basically nothing about prostate cancer. After doing an annual blood test for PSA, my results came back at 11.9. The normal range is 0 to 3 and possibly up to 4 in men over 60. What to do? I can’t explain the life-changing fear that comes over one when you know that your chance of having cancer exists. All priorities change overnight.
The first step that I took was getting an ultra sound to see if any abnormalities could be seen in the prostate. The ultrasound revealed suspicious areas, and I was recommended to get a biopsy done ASAP. Here is where I learned that MISTAKES can be made. A normal biopsy of the prostate usually consists of a 12 needle RANDOM sampling of different areas of the prostate. The problem with this standard procedure is that 12 needles may not hit a cancerous lesion. The most sophisticated biopsy is done with a 3T MRI. Any lesions can be seen and directly biopsied, and there is high chance that nothing will be missed. 3T MRI machines are extremely expensive, which makes them not readily available everywhere. I believe that there are only three “3T MRI” machines in Dallas, Texas.
A biopsy reveals through a Gleason score how aggressive the type of cancer cells are. Gleason scores go from 6 to 10. This score gives you a better idea of the options of treatment that can be taken.
The options that doctors usually give a patient are:
1) Monitor the lesions, if the Gleason score is low.
3) Chemotherapy, if the cancer has spread outside the prostate.
4) Surgical removal of the prostate.
5) Proton Therapy. This is a newer procedure.
All of these choices depend upon the aggressiveness of the cancer.
The decision that I made to deal with this was made through research and was NONE of the above. There is a new technique that is FDA approved but not yet covered by most insurance providers, as they consider this treatment to be nontraditional. The new treatment is called FLA (Fiberoptic Laser Oblation). The expert on this procedure is Dr. Sperling, whose clinic is in Del Ray, Florida. With the use of a 3T MRI, a needle is inserted to the point of the lesion, a fiber optic cable is directed through the needle, and it lasers away the lesion and a safe area around it. If your Gleason Score is higher than an eight, you will not be a candidate for this procedure as the cancer is already too aggressive.
I am one of the lucky ones, because I had two lesions that were a six and two lesions that were a seven. I was in and out of the 3T MRI in about 45 minutes, fully conscious, and my cancer cells were toast!
In my life, there has never been a feeling of relief like I had when I stood up. I was hugging everyone and giving the glory to GOD! There is NO radiation in my body. There are no chemotherapy chemicals in my body. My prostate is functioning normally!
I just returned to The Sperling Clinic last week for my six month check up. I could clearly see on the 3T MRI images where my cancer used to be. They looked like small, grey, hollow areas. I will continue to do PSA blood work every six months. My PSA numbers have gone from 11.9 to 1.1.
I would highly recommend to men with a history of family prostate cancer to start doing PSA blood work around 40 years old and to men with no family history of prostate cancer to start PSA blood work around 50 years old.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.
Thankfully Alive, Clark Rassi