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Prostate Cancer, ED, and Testosterone

Posted May 12 2009 6:15pm

Some of us are avid readers of New York Times editor, Dana Jennings.  In his superb writing style Jennings has spent months describing a more advanced form of prostate cancer than what the vast majority of newly diagnosed patients like me and others have gone through.

Yesterday morning, after a year of suffering but doing his best to cope, he indicated that he's returned to a low PSA level, implying that his prostate cancer is under control. In addition he's reached the normal range for testosterone. This,  after over 12 months on Lupron, which deliberately suppresses testosterone, intentionally  bringing a man to castrate level in order to "starve" his prostate tumor.

Medically, in many ways. I've been where Dana's been, but not with many of the extreme after-affects he's experienced other than hot flashes. Like him my PSA is where it should be, - less than 0.1. Although mine's been that way since my robotic surgery exactly two years ago, and I've had fewer health complications than he has.

I myself stopped my Lupron treatment the day I took my first injection nearly 2 years ago. But I'm still below the lowest score of 241 for normal testosterone levels. I'm told my continued low testosterone level is due to my diabetes, or neuropathy, or the many pills I take. It's not because of the initial Lupron injection I got with the side effects I describe in my book, and which Dana has achingly described in his New York Times Well columns.

This past week I got approved for a testosterone supplement.That's a bit risky, but as my robotic doc says, "I'm a poster boy for the big T, if taken in gradual doses." In my view the remote risk of having a recurrence of the "big C" is worth it just to get back my energy and to build up my muscles again. And if it helps me offset my ED while raising my libido, so much the better for me...and my wife!

As time goes by, I'll let you know whether the testosterone supplement has a beneficial effect or not. Meantme, good health...to us all. Or as they say in Yiddish and German: "Nur Gesund"!

Now, a question for our readers:

Generally making use of a testosterone supplement is a big "no-no." Due to possible prostate cancer recurrence, most doctors would frown on its use even when their patients' PSA levels are nice and low. What would you or your doctor tell me or my urologist and contributing author, Dr. Carey, if you or they were to correspond or meet with us? I'm eager to hear your views or those of your physicians, so feel free to reply here!

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