I was diagnosed with inoperable prostate cancer in January 1999. My PSA level was 41. So what was I to do?
Research quickly indicated that the synthetic hormone treatment I was offered was only likely to provide a modest delay to becoming ‘hormone refractory’ and thence, relatively quickly, on to the undertaker. Not an exciting prospect.
Fortunately, I found out about the herbal extract compound PC-SPES. This compound, sold as a food supplement, had been in use as a prostate cancer treatment for some 3 years, and there were no known cases of any ‘hormone naive’ prostate cancer patent using it having become hormone refractory.
And PC-SPES did stop the cancer in its tracks – my PSA reduced from 41 to 0.1 within ten weeks – But it did not get rid of the cancer in the primary site – my prostate. I took PC-SPES for 3 years, but whenever I tried to come off it (there were side effects that one would prefer not to have) there was a resurgence of cancer activity in the prostate, as shown by Color Doppler TRUS (Trans Rectal UltraSound) scans. So 3 years after initial diagnosis I was again wondering “what to do?” A variety of whole body scans suggested there was no active metastasis, as did a groin lymphadectomy, but my prostate was a different story.
I decided upon a more aggressive approach to the cancer. I considered and quickly rejected cryosurgery after visiting a specialist in the field at Columbia Medical Center in NYC – the risk of complications was too high. During the same US trip I had a consultation with Dr Gil Lederman at Staten Island University Hospital. I had discovered his “Fractionated Stereotactic Radio Surgery” (FSRS) during one of my numerous internet searches, and decided that it made a lot of sense.
Having looked at my charts, scans and lymphadectomy pathology, Dr Lederman advised a combination of Brachytherapy, followed by 25 sessions over 5 weeks of FSRS. Whilst he couldn’t guarantee that there was no micro-metastasis he was encouraged. But he was confident about killing the cancer in the prostate itself.
After several weeks of indecision, during which I was most grateful for his kindness, patience, and such willingness to respond to my telephone calls and emails, I took his advice and underwent his treatment regime at Staten Island in early 2002. Simultaneously, I stopped using the PC-SPES compound.
Now, some 4 years later, I appear to be cancer free. My PSA level is 0.05, I have no symptoms and am not having any other treatment. As for side effects from the Brachytherapy/FSRS, I do have mild ‘radiation urethritis’, but it’s in no way debilitating. At the age of 62 I’m still working as CEO of a systems engineering and software company, and expect to do so for the foreseeable future.
What can I say about Dr Lederman the doctor and human being? At first meeting and during the whole course of my treatment he struck me as a most competent, outstanding physician, wholly dedicated to helping his patients; and he was kind and patient as I’ve already said. During my 5 weeks of daily visits to his Department for FSRS treatment sessions, the enthusiastic and caring ethos of his staff was humbling; they reflected his values, and it was evident that they loved and felt privileged to be working for him.
It was a privilege for me to have been one of his patients – a feeling shared by all the many patients of his that I met and got to know during my total of 6 weeks of treatment under his care.
Chris Williams, March 2006
The website for Dr Lederman is: RSNY. His e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.