My Prostate Cancer Story
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This is John Vass’ Prostate Cancer Story

My Prostate Cancer Story is a website dedicated to helping people like John by sharing his story, resources, and providing an outlet for other’s to share their stories.

 

Symptoms


SymptoMS

  • 1: Unexplained weight loss

  • 2: Unexplained broken bone

  • 3: Blood in semen

    • These symptoms are all signs of prostate cancer; however, John had a low PSA so they weren’t diagnosed as prostate cancer


Things to know

  • Regular Physicals: John was getting a yearly physical by his primary Care Physician, but he was not performing a rectal exam

  • PSA: (3.2) His PSA was tested by blood tests

  • Family history: Father had prostate cancer and sister had breast cancer


Next Steps: evaluating options

  • TRUS Biopsy: A urologist suggested this option, but John ultimately decided not to go this route

  • Removing the prostate: This was recommended by most, if not all, urologists

    • At this point he decided to do more research


Research & Diagnosis


Tests

  • Diagnosis: Stage 4 Metastatic Prostate Cancer

  • Gleason Score: 9

  • Biopsy type: MRI Targeted Biopsy (Bore biopsy)

  • Advanced Imaging: PSMA


Emotional Impact

  • John went through several stages of grief and began asking “why me?”

  • One of the most challenging aspects is feeling like people are treating you differently just because you have cancer.

  • The positive outcome was putting his life into perspective, and finding the will to fight for his family.

John decided to go to London for advanced imaging (PSMA) to determine where the cancer had metastasized in the body. If he did not do this and had gotten his prostate removed, the cancer would have continued spreading ultimately killing him.


Treatment


Proton Therapy

  • Location: Knoxville, TN

  • Length: Took 2 months, 1 session each day, each session lasted about 10-30 minutes

  • Why he chose Proton Therapy? This form of radiation is targeted so it doesn’t destroy tissue without cancer like other forms of radiation. There were side effects like blood in stool, but the experience was generally a good one.


Hormone Therapy

  • Brand: Trelstar

  • Length: Taken by injection every 3 months

  • Side Effects: Hot flashes, overly emotional (you’ll cry all the time), “MANopausal,” addicted to the Hallmark Channel, genitals will shrink (even if you’re not in a pool)


Next Steps

  • Plan A: Our hope is that he can continue Proton Therapy and will be cancer free!

  • Plan B: If the cancer can not be cured through Proton Therapy, he will consider getting Lutetium 177 PSMA. A injection drug that he can get in Germany.

  • Plan C: If the cancer has spread to soft tissue, our option would be chemotherapy.


Final Remarks


UPDATES

MRI Guided in bore targeted biopsy (real time imaging) & Full body imaging

 

We go in depth into a variety of topics mentioned in these videos on the blog. This is also where you will find the most updated information about John’s status. You can also find blog posts written by his children and his wife that provide insight on their own experience during this journey.


 
 
We don’t know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice we have.
— Bob Marley
 
 

We will keep you updated on John’s journey by adding more videos. We welcome everyone’s story, good or bad. If you google metastatic prostate cancer, most results say there is NO CURE. Let’s change that! Share your story, share your doctor, maybe someday athletes will wear blue shoes.