Father-in-law has prostate cancer

Hello I'm new to this community and hoping some one can help me understand this disease.

My father-in-law (84yrs old) has had prostate cancer for 20yrs. He has been monitored every year ever since. In 2012 his PSA levels rocketed to over 300+. He has already had radiotherapy and seemed to be cancer free for a while. Now his PSA level is over 600. His prostate cancer has attached its self to his spine (can often happen apparently). Although he has it on the bone it's not the same as bone cancer. So we are told. He has had hormone treatment for it and it reduced the cancer and his PSA went down and he felt ok. Dr's stopped hormone treatment. Since then his PSA has soared to over 600 and he's been told it has turned aggressive and is terminal as he has shadows on his lungs and jaundice. Dr's are Saying he has prostate cancer on the bone, lungs and liver. We are confused as to whether this is secondary cancer or not.

He has been offered hospice care (but we all wanted him home and he is home with his loved ones-not sure for how long before he gets too poorly !) we assume he only has weeks rather than months due to it being in his liver/hospice offer/Macmillian nurses calling at the house a couple of times a day/GP coming to visit every day. He was told nothing else can be done.

He is scared (so are we all) as he doesn't know what will happen etc. I know no one does but has anyone any insight on time span and what we can expect?

Sorry to sound so feeble but forewarned is forearmed.

What is the Gleeson score?

Thanks in advance. X

4 Replies

  • Hello I am so very sorry to hear about your father in law. Obviously, from the tone of your post, the end is close. Nobody can tell you how close. I too have advanced prostate cancer and I know that one day it will get me. My fear is not death, everybody has to face that. What frightens me is the manor of death. The really important thing is that he is kept as pain free and as comfortable as possible. Think very carefully about the Hospce offer, they are wonderful uplifting places and your father in law will be given everything he needs.

    Give him all of the love and attention you can and make sure that he knows he is not alone.

    My thoughts are with you


  • Hi Hugh thanks for your reply. Sorry for my late reply. Life has been hectic.

    Quick update on my Father in Law. My F-I-L is back in hospital with a touch of pneumonia at the moment. They caught it and treating him early before it really took hold. He is doing really well. After I posted last month he picked up and has been living life to the best of his ability. His PSA came down to 120, kidney functions and blood clotting were nearly back to normal. He has been eating like a horse and putting on weight. He is looking better than a month ago. He and mother in law have been going out to eat lunch every day and a drive in the country side. They have even been away overnight twice. He is cramming as much as possible into to what time he has left.

    The doctors are amazed at how well he is doing. They gave him 2weeks to live (if we were lucky). Hopefully he will get over this pneumonia quickly and we can have him for a lot longer.

    Thank you again for your reply it was very much appreciated.

  • Hi W3ndy

    So sorry to read your post. It would seem that the end will not be far away but it is impossible to say how long as each individual and their will to live plays a part. Like Hugh I would also suggest rethinking the offer of the hospice. Often they are places where medication can be balanced to better assist our loved ones and their pain. He may go there for day visits for a few weeks to become comfortable with the surroundings and find that the hospice is a wonderful place.

    As to the Gleason score I believe it is the number first used to guage the severity of the cancer at the time it is first diagnosed. The PSA is the guide used later. However I am no medical person so perhaps you could ask one of the MacMillan nurses who google Gleason score and I believe there is a good article on the macmillan web site and also the prostate cancer website.

    My mother passed last year, I know how difficult it is to see our loved ones leave us but you have time to prepare yourselves, stay cheerful around your father in law depnding on his own sense of humour sometimes this time of life can be rewarding if that does not sound too strange.

    My best wishes and empathy to you and your family.

  • Thank you for your reply butterflyEi. I really appreciate it.

    He really is living life to the full in the time he has left. Hospice care hasn't been ruled out. We feel we can manage and cope just now. When the time comes we definitely will consider it. I know they are wonderful places.

    I've left an update above which you might like to read.

    It's a pity we cannot "Tag" people - like on Facebook.


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