Each treatment has side effects and each has its own likelihood of being effective. It is up to you and your family, with the help of your doctor, to evaluate the treatment, its chance of success and its side effects, before deciding if you want the treatment. Your choice will depend on your expectations. Some people don 't want to stop trying until the doctor runs out of things to try. Other patients say, "I don't want to go through all that for so little gain; it's a bad bargain. I'd rather spend less time with the doctor and more time fishing."
The choice is yours.
Even at this stage, when life is measured in months rather than years, there are battles left to fight, and many to win. It is not a time for hopelessness. It is time for tough choices about how you will cope with the effects of the disease and how, and at what level, you will maintain the quality of your life. It is not time to surrender. It is time to realize that, in the end, your war against cancer will probably be lost.
To make the most of this part of your life, you must ask questions and evaluate what is important to you.
Facts to consider
A few facts may help you organize your thoughts.
Once cancer has been detected out- side the prostate, it may be present
throughout the body in amounts that are not yet detectable by medical technology.
If your bone scan shows one lesion, it is safe to say that other bones may also be weakened by cancer, although the damage is not yet severe enough to be detected on a bone scan.
Cancer in the bone marrow does not appear on bone scans, although it may show up on other tests. If a lesion has shown up on a bone scan, the disease probably will affect your body's ability to produce red and white blood cells and platelets.
In a process not yet fully understood by medical science, cancer cells "poison" the body and hijack healthy cells. The cancer cells release proteins and material that cause inflammation. As time goes on, this toxicity will become more apparent in a feeling of general ill health, as if you have the flu. You may be tired, lethargic, achy, and have fevers and chills.
The effort to clean your body of this unwanted material eventually strains your liver and kidneys. When these organs become over- loaded, they may fail. You may have to consider treatment that will help your kidneys and liver process the toxins produced by the cancer cells.