Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Scoop

Provenge is provided by Dendreon and the website the best place to go.   The leukaphresis and infusion have to take place at different facilities, thus going to two places for the two procedures.  We are doing okay, Insurance is paying for it!  .  It is a $93,000 procedure.  Blood is transported by independent courier, that has to be a considerable cost in itself.  The process is much like how vaccines are made, this is just individualized.  The process has been used for leukemia very successfully, for prostate cancer not as successful, but does improve survival time.  Some of the clinical trial patients are still around 5 years later.  Average is 2 1/2 years.  Roger had no side effects except fatigue, thus far.  Considering that he had the surgery on Monday (Rogers) leukaphresis on Tuesday (Tulsa), and infusion on Friday (Fayetteville) with all the travelling, I am more tired than Roger.  He's doing better than I am right now, I'm exhausted!
Roger was diagnosed in 2001, and had exhausted most options for treatment. (Hormone Therapy and Radiation) So this was happy news not just for finding a treatment, but for his mental well-being.  The PSA was doubling every 2 weeks in April, and although he would not admit, he was very depressed, and for good reason, when it is doubling that fast, it doesn't take long for the cancer to get into the bones.  The only other treatment at this point after Provenge is chemotherapy Docetaxel ( or something close to that).  that's it.  Provenge has also proved to make other therapies more effective, so if Provenge  does not slow the cancer, the chances of chemo working are greater.  Roger has already developed problems with urination, made somewhat better with Flomax, none of this is good but his spirits are good! and if Provenge does nothing, it has pumped Roger full of hope.  Our house is pretty much a pharmacy right now.  We have some very useful drugs and a lot of them.  We also have a prescription drug plan, although we spend more on drugs than doc visits.  Wow, this is probably more than you wanted to know.  Thanks for prayers!  If there's any other questions on the Provenge adventure that I can answer, or if anyone wants to know more about it I will be happy to answer more questions.