What did your husband’s urologist recommend?

What did your husband’s urologist recommend?

Patient’s Wife Terry Sommerhauer Transcript

Opening Title: What did your husband’s urologist recommend?

Actually, I called him from… I was at work and I called him and he gave me the news while I was at work that he had cancer. And it was something I never expected and it was pretty emotional thing for me. He told me some of the specifics that the urologist had told him about that he’d need to have surgery, and that’s before we understood anything really about prostate cancer. I couldn’t have even told you at that time what a prostate did. So, that weekend, it was like a cram session on the internet, and I was really worried because this could have a major impact on our life, the side effects of the treatments, and I was worried, while I was worried that my husband number one, was going to be alive. That came first but if he could…if we could avoid treatment the more I read and studied on the internet, the longer that we could avoid some of those bad effects the better because again I had faith that … that things are continuing to develop and there will be more options in the future.

So I questioned the doctor about my husband’s specific scoring… Gleason score, because the way I had read the results there was one core out of 12 that was positive, 5% of that core was positive, and of that 5% of the one core only 10% were ranked a Gleason 4. So I said it seems to me this is a very low 7, and maybe it’s not that aggressive, and he said a 7 is a 7, and a 7 needs to be treated and he said that because of my husband’s age, he was at the time 62, that he was too young for radiation because if he went on radiation then he would likely get bladder or rectal cancer in the future, he said that he was not a candidate for active surveillance, and really his only choice was to have the prostate removed and the sooner and better. I asked the doctor if… about support groups in our area of the East Bay, and he said oh support groups, he said that’s just for the guys that have problems as a result of treatment, he said the other guys they go on with their life and they don’t go to support groups.

I asked about we had an upcoming trip to Europe, and it was a very special trip that we had been planning for over a year, and I asked him, at that point it was June and the trip was in September, and I said could we postpone the surgery until after the trip, the surgery that he was was proposing, and he said, well, you can we wait till after the trip, but he said twenty years ago when I was working at Stanford, my father had prostate cancer and we postponed a big family trip so that he could be treated, and I often wondered today, his father at that point was 80 something, whether he would still be alive if they had gone on that trip. So he told me on one side, yes you go ahead on the trip, and on the other side he was saying, you might be killing your husband. And then we got through maybe three or four of my questions and the answers were very rapid and then he more or less cut me off, he said I don’t have time for all these questions, and this was something that could affect the whole rest of our life, and he didn’t have the time to answer my questions, and then as we were leaving, the appointment, even though we had said we didn’t want… we weren’t interested in surgery quite yet, he handed my husband a little card with a persons’ name to schedule a surgery.. he wasn’t listening to us at all.

I think sometimes in our case I was the researcher in this whole venture I was on the computer sometimes at 2 in the morning, and you can’t just go, you have to be informed yourself, and can’t just go with what that urologist says, the first urologist… and I‘m glad that we were able to be on active surveillance for these last two years.

Closing Title: Centers with dedicated Active Surveillance programs are often the best resource

Spouse Terry Sommerhauer recounts how her husband’s urologist urged surgery as the only safe option.
Spouse Terry Sommerhauer

In 2012, Terry’s husband Ed was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Terry, a CPA, accompanied Ed for a consultation with his urologist who strongly urged immediate surgery. Terry’s research had shown active surveillance as a possible option. Ed and Terry followed up with a 2nd consultation at Stanford University where active surveillance was indicated as a viable alternative. Afterwards Ed and Terry had a 3rd consultation at the University of California at San Francisco. A multi-parametric MRI at UCSF did not detect cancer and Ed enrolled in the UCSF active surveillance program. Terry recounts how Ed’s original urologist had emphasized prompt surgery as the only safe option. Ed has done well om the active surveillance program at UCSF for 3 years.
Video reviewed and approved by Terry and Ed Sommerhauer, August 1, 2015