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Just rung my dad - he's just been diagnosed with cancer

23 replies

Jaybee · 30/03/2004 16:57

He has been having lots of tests recently on his prostate and I suspected that it may be cancer but that doesn't prepare you for actually knowing does it. He had to go to the hospital for his results today so I thought I would ring him - knew i should have waited until I got home from work. To me it sounds quite advanced - does anyone know of anyone who has been through this and could explain some of the information he has been given.
Sorry - a bit rambly but just needed to tell someone and I am on my own in the office at the moment.
Also, how and when should I tell my kids (aged 10 and 7).

OP posts:
Janstar · 30/03/2004 17:01

Sorry to hear this Jaybee. I hope everything turns out well for him.

fio2 · 30/03/2004 17:03

Sorry jaybee (())) I wouldnt tell the kids yet until you know more. It must be a terrible shock for you, how old is he? and what prognosis has he been given?

WideWebWitch · 30/03/2004 17:04

sorry to hear this jaybee, I'd wait to tell the kids too, get used to it yourself and find out more.

lydialemon · 30/03/2004 17:09

I'm so sorry to hear this, it must be really difficult to hear it especally when you are stuck on your own like this. I don't have any exactly relevant experience, but my Stepdad was in hospital with acute prostatitus before Christmas, and my FIL had lung cancer so maybe along the way I've picked up something that could help?

Big Hug to you anyway.

hmb · 30/03/2004 17:10

I'm sorry to read your new Jaybee

Have a look at the cancer bacup UK website. They do some excellent leaflets.

Regarding treatment it depends on how advanced the cancer is, how old your father is and how fit he his. They may remove the tumour, but in many cases they treat the condition usinf hormone therapy. Prostate cancer is very sensitive to mole hormones. They 'switch off' the male hormones and the tumour stops growing (or slows down a great deal). This sort of treatment can be very sucessful, but it does cause impotence. A member of my family has been sucessfuly treated with this for over 3 years.

They can use radiotherapy to shrink the tumour, and reduce symptoms.

Very large numbers of men live with prostate cancer for many years. The majority of men in their 80s have the condition but it doesn't kill them. So try not to panic, but I know this isn't easy.

fio2 · 30/03/2004 17:14

I dont know if thats a similar treatment to what my granddad had but they were unable to remove his tumour (they did try) so used a therapy to shrink it and keep it under control. They gave him 3 months at diagnosis, he actually lived for almost 10 years after - which was quite remarkable. Please dont think the worst.

Thomcat · 30/03/2004 17:17

Oh shit. REALLY sorry to hear that Jaybee. No advise I'm afraid, just tons of sympathy and love.
TC xxx

bundle · 30/03/2004 17:20

oh no jaybee, that's awful. here's some good links from a bbc radio programme on prostate, sorry bit rushed, hope it helps, thinking of you & your dad, x

Jaybee · 30/03/2004 17:22

Thanks all for your messages. I had told the kids that he has been having some tests and he may be poorly - my dd asked if he had cancer (a wise one that one for her 7 years) - so I think I will find out more myself so I can answer their questions as honestly as I can.
Hmb - your post interests me as he has been told that he has to take 'tablets' for a month which will affect erections etc. when I asked him what they were he didn't know - I assume that these tablets are hormones then. He is 73 which will affect the treatment I assume and also a heavy smoker. He has been told that after his month on these tablets they will test his 'levels' again and check to see if it has spread to his bones. Apparently these 'levels' were very high - doesn't sound good does it.

OP posts:
spacemonkey · 30/03/2004 17:31

so sorry to hear this Jaybee

my uncle had prostate cancer and has now made a full recovery, I do hope it'll be the same for your dad XXX

hmb · 30/03/2004 17:41

The levels that they are talking about as Prostate Specific Antigen. These levels are raised when a man has prostate cancer, they higher they are the more advanced the disease tends to be. they can also be reased after a man has sex, and that can be benign. They will continue to take blood sample to monitor these levels as it give them a good indicator of how the disease is progressing.

They give a pre treatment prior to starting anti androgen treatment (iirc) this helps to dampen things down and prevent the antiandrogen causing an initial 'flare up' of the tumour. The anti androgen tends to be given in the form of monthly injections which are well tolerated by the majority of men. Some men do get 'hot flushes' but this can settle with time.

This in the bacup link

Please try not to get too upset, many men live for years with prostate cancer.

suedonim · 30/03/2004 17:45

Sorry to hear your news, Jaybee. A friend of ours in his 40's has been having treatment and is doing very well. I also know of two other men in their 50's who've been treated successfully. The outlook nowadays is much better than it used to be and many men live with prostate cancer and eventually die of something else. Good luck to your father, hope he does well on his treatment.

helenmc · 30/03/2004 21:29

I'm sorry Jaybee - are the kids very fond of your dad? We went to my bil's funeral yesterday, and my girls are almost 7 and 10. It was the 7yr who was most upset, but she just needed reassurance that mum& dad werent going to disappear and you can't catch cancer. Be straight with you kids, say you don't know what's going to happen, but doctors can do wonders.

tigermoth · 31/03/2004 07:35

sorry about your news, jaybee. Any chance of going to one of your dad's appointments and talking with him and the doctor? right now, I would wait before telling your children anything. If, however, you feel your children are noticing you are very upset, then tell them something along the lines that grandpa is haveing tests at the hospital and that's what's worrying you. I think I'd consider getting them used to the idea that grandpa is not well, before telling them more.

hmb · 31/03/2004 08:02

I would wait and see how your Father is, before you have a talk to the children. Be honest, and say he has been in hospital etc, but don't do into detail just yet. He may have very few symptoms, if any, for a while.

Be prepared for him not to want to discuss things. People deal with these things in very different ways. My Father had prostate cancer (died of heart failure). He had been given a terminal diagnosis, but never wanted to talk about it. That was the way he was happiest. He lived a full and fullflling life , right up to the point when his heart gave in.

If things do progress I would urge you and your family to get in contact with the Macmillan nurses. They were wonderful and help the whole family, not just the patient.

My Fathers pain was under good control. He did become weak, but was still doing all the things that he wanted to. He had a good quality of life up to the end. And many men live for years with this condition.

WSM · 31/03/2004 08:59

Oh Jaybee, how awful for you. Sympathy hugs being sent to help you through.


motherinferior · 31/03/2004 09:02


Jaybee · 31/03/2004 10:03

Thanks again for all your messages - thanks hmb for your support and advice. I haven't told the kids yet - I will play it by ear - they are not really close to their grandad - he is a bit old school and we only do limited visits due to their heavy smoking and ds' asthma. It will probably affect by nephews more as my sister lives near them and has been a single mum since the boys were 3 and 5 (now 18 and 16) - he has been their father figure.

OP posts:
CountessDracula · 31/03/2004 10:07

Jaybee so sorry to hear about this - I do remember being told that if all men lived to 100 they would all have prostate cancer (no idea why) and I believe it can be very slow in it's progression, so let's hope your dad's is this type. You must be very worried. ((()))

Freckle · 31/03/2004 10:18

My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer a couple of years ago (he's almost 74 now). He was told by the consultant that, if he were in his 80s, they probably wouldn't bother with any treatment as he would be more likely to die of old age before the cancer got to the point that it was life-threatening. As he was in his 70s, however, they suggested a course of radiotherapy to shrink the tumour. He did this (not particularly pleasant side-effects - couldn't go for from a loo for a while following each dose) and now has 6 monthly check-ups. He is otherwise fit and well and leading a perfectly normal life.

I'm sure your dad is receiving the best of care and will probably undergo a similar treatment to my dad. It is worrying to hear the word cancer, but it doesn't always have to be a death sentence.

Blu · 31/03/2004 10:37

Jaybee, just to say sorry you and your dad have this worrying news.

Marina · 31/03/2004 11:28

No experience of prostate cancer in the family but have an elderly and adored father so can imagine how you are feeling Jaybee. Lots of good advice from others and hugs from me.

prettycandles · 31/03/2004 14:23

Jaybee - {{hugs{}}}.

My df had prostate cancer and had it removed by surgery and has made a full recovery. It was a very scarey time and, tbh, we're still scared every 6 months when he goes for a test to make sure it hasn't returned. Don't tell your children yet, wait a while until you have some idea of the prognosis.

hmb has given good advice and info!

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