The co-authors of Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers, blog alternate posts weekly. We invite you to post your comments.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Revisiting TIP (Testosterone Inactivating Pharmaceuticals)


Why Does TIP Work?
Testosterone is the hormone that causes boys to become men at puberty. Prior to puberty, the prostate gland is roughly the size of a small marble. Then, when the teenage surge of testosterone occurs, the gland expands to walnut size and begins producing semen. This transformation occurs because the cells of the prostate gland are uniquely sensitive to the presence, or absence, of testosterone. Lowering the level of testosterone in the blood causes the cancer cells to shrivel up a die because the cancer cells are derived from prostate gland cells and retain the same dependence on testosterone for survival.

Long Term Results
One downside to TIP is that while it shrinks the cancer, it does not, ultimately, kill every last cell. However, it has been my treatment of choice for the past ten years. Studies done at Prostate Oncology Specialists, Inc. show that after twelve months of TIP the amount of residual cancer is usually too small to be detected with a lesion-directed biopsy using color Doppler ultrasound. In most cases PSA drops to near undetectable levels (mine dropped to 0.125), and TIP has the added benefit of having anti-cancer effects throughout the body.

When TIP is stopped, testosterone levels gradually return to normal, and a number of men require no further treatment. Some men require periodic treatment with TIP to keep their PSA levels under 5.  And other men, rather than continuing with intermittent TIP, decide to go for surgery, seeds or IMRT. However, even this latter group has bought themselves on average of five plus years before risking the intimidating potential side effects of more radical treatments.

Side Effects of TIP
Although no prostate cancer treatment is free of undesirable side effects, most of the side effects of TIP (weight gain, muscle loss, loss of libido)   are preventable with proper management. And loss of libido, unlike impotence, is reversible when TIP is stopped. Meanwhile, although some of the magic may be gone while on TIP, most men find that they can still enjoy sex (and give pleasure to their partners) with a little help from Big Pharma. Viva Viagra!
Final Thoughts
I can think of only three reasons why this non-invasive alternative to surgery and radiation is not more often the treatment of choice for men with Intermediate-Risk prostate cancer:

1)  Patients never hear that it is an option: Urologists usually don’t suggest TIP to men with Intermediate-Risk cancer as a viable alternative to their preferred treatments—surgery and radiation.

2)  Doctors are unfamiliar with the TIP option.  Finding an oncologist with experience in state-of-the-art methods of administering TIP is still a challenge.
3)  Most men are shocked and fearful when they are first diagnosed with prostate cancer, and it’s hard to resist the emotional appeal of “Just cutting it out”—especially when the risks of more radical treatment are sometimes glossed over.
Thankfully, in 2002, when I learned that my PSA had bumped up to 18.3, my fear of being sliced open, or fried by radiation led me to Mark Scholz, and TIP. And although I would not describe my experience as “a day at the beach,” I am deeply grateful that I chose TIP, and, more importantly, ten years later, I am still here!

1 comment:

Chief said...

PSA Jan 2013 7.7
PSA Mar 2013 8.7

Diagnosed after a biopsy as having prostate cancer in May 2013. Have read "Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers two times.

The idea of TIP sounds much better that surgery, for which I am too old, or radiation.

So my urologist prescribed 3 shots of Lupron, 28 days apart. A blood draw on 12 Aug 2013 had my PSA at 0.2.

So Doc wants to stop lupron for three months and do a PSA test in Nov 2013.

\This does not sound right. Why not anti-androgens and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors?

Help !