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1- After treatment has failed to produce a zero PSA, say .07, isn't the sign of a little cancer left be just as serious as the sign of a lot of cancer left?
2- What is the life span of a prostate cancer cell? Every cell has a programed life span but I understand that cancer cells don't follow that "rule" and hence the problem. Still, they can't live forever.
3- Does drug treatment actually kill cancer cells or just make them dormant? I have heard it shrinks tumors so if it does this why can't it eliminate them?
1)Which treatment? Assuming you have had a prostatectomy, .07 could mean you have some normal prostate cells left or cancerous prostate cells left. You will get your PSA tested monthly and see if it increases to 0.2. If it does hit 0.2 then it confirms you do have active cancer cells. Then you will get a combination of 33 days of radiation over seven weeks and at least 6 months of hormone treatment. Although it would be better to have had a lower PSA, .07 was considered "undetectable" about 10 years ago and your prognosis is still good. If, over the next two years, your PSA shoots up to 10 or 20 and the hormone/radiation treatment doesn't bring it down below 1.0 then PC could well kill you in the next 10 years.
2) Cancer cells live until you die if left alone and even after if kept in a research lab somewhere.
3)Hormone treatment will shrink (and probably does kill some) cancer cells but then the real killer cancer cells learn to thrive without testosterone. The chemo drugs attempt to kill them.
- Hope this helps
Thanks for the answers Frank. Still a little confused, so cancer cells NEVER die? That sounds like immortality! I guess that is why there is no cure for cancer, you have to physically get rid of it or it lives forever. I would guess that many years ago cancer research has gone down this line of thinking and long ago found it isn't a viable option. What a rotten unfair disease!
(Had the surgery and the radiation - 38 days, now in prayer like so many others!) Jon