The Upside of Watchful Waiting - John Berkers

John Berkers
John Berkers

I’d been having PSA and DRE tests since 1996 when the PSA was 3.1. The next time it was 3.5 then 3.9 then 4.3 , 4.7, 5.3 and up to 6.35 in 2004.

At my yearly check-up with my GP in 2003, he suggested and made an appointment for a more in-depth check of the prostate. This was done with an ultrasound in December and the attending doctor said there did not seem to be anything to worry about, though he give my doctor a report.

At the next examination and PSA test in June, the test result was 6.35. He suggested an appointment with a specialist regarding a prostate biopsy. My consultation with the urologist was on Oct. 4 and he put me on an anti-biotic for a month to see if this would lower the PSA reading by the end of Nov. I had another meeting with him in early Dec.

The PSA dropped to 5.3 but the doctor did not think this was enough and suggested a biopsy which was done in of ‘05 at the Queensway Carleton Hospital. The result? 2 of 12 samples were positive.

In the subsequent 6 weeks, after meeting with Drs. McCrae, Brennan and Proudlove, I decided to continue with watchful waiting and go for PSA tests at 6 month intervals to determine how fast the cancer was growing.

The next PSA test result, in Sept.’05, was 5.6 then it went to 5.9, 8.4, 6.4, and 6.0. My test visits were changed to annually and I also went on a prostate reducing pill to curb nightly bathroom visits. This (the pill, not the bathroom visits) dropped the PSA test to 3.0 where it has hovered for the last 3 years.

I’ve been watching my diet fairly closely and changed to most recommended food groups to help slow down the spread of cancer. I weighed 210 lbs in March '05, slimmed to 167 in 2007 and am back to 175 at present.

I also walk daily. Initially, it was 8 km per day, then 10 then 12. But it’s back to 8 this year and in the summer I sometimes alternate walking with biking.

In retrospect, my wife and I are very pleased with the outcome of watchful waiting, although she originally agreed with some trepidation.