Prostate Cancer Survivors






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A month has gone by without a post on YANA. Such a lull in activity provides an opportunity to share one of my journal entries that a number of participants may find helpful; see below:
A Layman's Mini-Primer on Radiation for Gynecomestia
Let's begin with a common sense criterion for determining the need for treating gynecomestia, i. e.,"when a guy's breast size has developed to the point (no pun intended) that he is reluctant to swim in public or exercise bare-chested outdoors." A compassionate college professor provided this guideline in response to a thread I initiated on an internet PCa site..
The following findings of a research paper captured my attention early on:
" In 2003 Widmark et al conducted the largest randomized trial on use of radiation therapy for prevention of gynecomastia (n=253) and found a reduction of gynecomastia rates from 71% to 28% when radiation therapy was given. For the treatment of existing gynecomastia, radiation therapy resulted in improvement or resolution of gynecomastia in 33% of treated patients, with 39% experiencing improvement or resolution of breast pain."

The following discussion with a Radiation Oncologist played a key role in my determination to proceed with radiation:
Pt.:What kind of outcome can I expect,
RO:--An eighty per cent reduction in the size of your breasts.
--A temporary reddening of your breast tissue
--No damage to the heart, lungs or breasts.
Pt: Please address the risk of breast cancer.
RO The likelihood of causing such a cancer is ten thousand to one, and it would take thirty years to develop.
Pt: Please explain the science underlying this approach.
RO: It accelerates the cell atrophy process.
Pt: What about underlying heart and lung tissue?
RO: We use only electrons which enables us to control the depth of penetration.
Pt; How long before we will see the results of treatment?
RO: The benefits of treatment should be apparent in four to six weeks. Reduction in pain and sensitivity usually precede the reduction of breast size.

I initiated and completed treatment the week of July 11th.Treatment consisted of three very brief (one or two minute?) exposures.
Thus far the improvements have been quicker and better than expected.


Re: Gynacomestia

Thanks Don! Your info is very helpful. This is something that many will face as time passes. Even ageing has an effect on this as our hormone levels drop. It is just another subject not many care to elaborate on but as you said, can have an effect on life and self image. We men find breasts very attractive, but NOT on us. Your recount of questions and answers about this treatment is very helpful and informative. It shows good foresight.

Also thanks for reviving the forum. I check it daily but it has been very quiet for the last month. It is a very helpful feature of this site and can be full of valuable info and help for many. Thanks again, Jon.

Re: Gynacomestia

I noticed that the RO said "We use only electrons which enables us to control the depth of penetration."
Since I don't believe you can "control" the depth of common radiation (photon), can I assume you had Proton radiation for your treatment?

Re: Gynacomestia

Most definitely photon and I am very familiar with proton which was my initial form of treatment.

Re: Gynacomestia

O.K. guys, I am now officially confused. Was it PHOton or PROton? Which one controls the depth of penetration? It would be good to know for sure if some of us decide to have that treatment. Jon.

Re: Gynacomestia

Here is a quote from one of my earliest journal entries.
"Healthy cells tolerate the destructive force of radiation better than cancer cells. Therein lies the effectiveness of radiation for treating cancer. One characteristic of a proton beam is known as the Bragg Peak. As described in an article by James Metz M.D. "...the absorbed dose of a proton beam increases very gradually with increasing depth and then suddenly rises to a peak at the end of the proton range." The energy level beyond the Bragg Peak is relatively negligible. Another important characteristic of a proton beam is it can be manipulated to deliver optimal levels of energy to precise locations within the target area. In layman's terms cancer cells can be nullified with pinpoint accuracy. By way of contrast an xray beam, the more common form of radiation, tends to deliver equal amounts of energy from the entry level through the target volume to the point of exit. These differences in radiation characteristics translate into less collateral damage from proton beam radiation. Herein lies the proton advantage."
When advised by my RO that he could limit the depth of the photon radiation by using only electrons to treat my gynacomestia I accepted his professional assurance.
Joe and Jon:In response to your posts I Googled "Electron Therapy" with the following result: "Electron therapy or electron beam therapy is a kind of external beam radiotherapy where electrons are directed to a tumor site."
I'll leave it to someone else to research these topics more thoroughly if so inclined.