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Provenge Therapy for Prostate Cancer

Updated on August 16, 2015
Provenge Therapy - Dave Ligler during his first (out of 3) Leukapheresis
Provenge Therapy - Dave Ligler during his first (out of 3) Leukapheresis | Source

Provenge Therapy for Prostate Cancer

When my husband was first diagnosed in 2008 at age 57 with Stage 2 Prostate Cancer we were heartbroken, yet hopeful. Dave does have a strong family history of Prostate Cancer which is why he began PSA screenings at age 40. We were given a few options by his urologist and Dave decided upon robotic surgery. Surgery was successful by serving it's purpose of removing the prostate, not the cancer.

PSA began to slowly rise shortly after even though post-biopsy results were perfect as stated by his surgeon/urologist.

Dave continued on to receive 38 radiation treatments to his prostate bed as suggested by his radiation oncologist. We later learned these treatments served no purpose since the cancer had obviously already spread.

A bone scan revealed metastatic cancer to his hip area. 15 radiation treatments followed. PSA continued to rise.

At this time Eligard - Hormone Treatment along with Casodex was added to the regime. PSA dropped, we cheered. Six months later PSA began to rise again. A bone scan revealed metastatic cancer to the spine. Ten radiation treatments followed. PSA dramatically jumped on the Richter scale! Monthly Xgeva injections for bone strength were now added.

Almost four years into our journey...Dave was now asymptomatic, castrate resistant and had metastatic cancer. He was now a perfect candidate for Provenge Therapy. As a team, my husband and I, once again, did our research. We were, once again, very hopeful that this treatment will prove beneficial to destroy the cancerous cells.

We could have went with chemotherapy, but when presented with the option of toxic vs non-toxic we choose immunotherapy and we are rooting for Dave's immune system to win this fight! Provenge is less invasive then chemo.

It's the only treatment available besides chemo that will destroy cancer cells. Provenge was just recently approved by the FDA, but that didn't affect our decision. This therapy has been in clinical studies for many years.

We are confident Provenge will get the job done. We hope that after three leukaphoresis treatments alternated with three Provenge infusions it's effects will add more years to Dave's life.

Dave during his first (out of 3) Provenge Treatment
Dave during his first (out of 3) Provenge Treatment | Source

Updates on Prostate Cancer Journey

Update 11/14/11: Part one and Part two went smoothly with the exception of a pit stop for a blood transfusion due to low hemoglobin levels. One more treatment to go!

Final treatment was on 11/30/11.

We won't know how successful Provenge therapy was for a few weeks, we're hoping for the best.

Last PSA check was 556 in October. Initial PSA 4 years ago pre-surgery was 5.8.

12/16/11: First Provenge PSA is 323 ... Oncologist informed us the PSA was double after Provenge. This is one of those times when you are happy your doctor was wrong!:)

12/19/11 Low hemoglobin results 7.6 require an immediate blood transfusion on 12/20/11.

One day at a time.

Would we recommend this treatment to another patient of Prostate Cancer? Probably not.

There is still no concrete proof that it serves it's purpose. We will never know if it worked.

You could find out why we don't support Provenge by reading our journey below.

What I've shared is Dave's and my opinion.

We are in no way trying to convince you to opt out of the treatment.

Always remember that:

  • Each patient is unique
  • Each treatment is unique
  • Each cancer is unique

Yet, we are in this journey together and I wish you good luck and good health.

Sidenote as of June 20th, 2013...Provenge is supposedly beneficial for men with a very low PSA. This is what I've heard since I wrote this article two years ago.


Dave's Prostate Cancer Journey...

I am updating Dave's journey on this article:

Prostate Cancer Doctors: Are They Still Clueless?

Feel free to contact me at:

Have you had Provenge?

See results

Curious minds still want to know more about Provenge...

Are you still curious about Provenge? Read on....What is Provenge?

November 12, 2014 - Provenge is Bankrupt!

Dendreon has announced it has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

If you had Provenge, do you feel it worked?

See results

© 2011 Linda Bilyeu


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