Bill, 59, was diagnosed with low-grade prostate cancer two years ago. He recently got re-tested and the results were the same as two years ago: a Gleason score of 6. Bill wants to know, what should he do now?
First of all, let me explain that a Gleason score is a measure of how aggressive your prostate cancer is. A Gleason score tells you what your cancer cells look like. If your cells are close together, small, and normal-looking, you’ll have a low score. If your cells are spread out and highly irregular, you’ll have a higher score. The lower the score, the less aggressive the cancer.
Bill, the fact that your Gleason score hasn’t changed in two years is a good sign. Remember that prostate cancer is extremely slow-growing. Most guys die with prostate cancer, not from prostate cancer. So I think you’re a perfect candidate for what’s called surveillance, or “watchful waiting.” That means doing what you’re doing—getting regular check-ups to keep tabs on your prostate. The advantage of this approach is that you avoid the complications and side effects of treatment—whether that’s surgery, radiation, or some other technique. They all run the risk of impotence, urinary incontinence, and, of course, the discomfort or pain of the treatment itself.
Bill, I think you’re going to be okay. Just do what you can to stay healthy. Exercise regularly. Eat right. Don’t eat much bread, pizza, pasta, cookies, or cake. Stay away from sugar, in general, and not only will your prostate be happier, you’ll be happier!