A website to provide support for people who have or have had any type of cancer, for their caregivers and for their family members.
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Thread: prostate personality change

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by RobLee View Post
    The changes that result from prostate cancer and more importantly cancer treatment certainly changes ones outlook on life. However, I had an experience that began long before my diagnosis and treatment.

    I started having some troubling urinary and sexual symptoms nearly four years ago, and had a biopsy a few months later which was negative, but turned out later to be a false negative... in other words, the biopsy completely missed the tumor.

    That was the beginning of a very rough year, and for the next two years I was prone to episodes of crying and my wife frequently told me that I was depressed. I have never had any psych or emotional problems, but spoke with my doctor and he pretty much dismissed the symptoms that I presented to him.

    Two years later another biopsy identified the tumor and I had a prostatectomy, was started on Lupron and the antidepressant Effexor, had a urinary implant and underwent two months of radiation. My life has definitely changed as a result of the treatments, but mentally I feel far better off than I did two or three years ago.

    I believe now that during those two years between the negative biopsy and the positive one and subsequent treatments that I actually did have a tumor growing in me and that it affected my personality and my mental and emotional state, perhaps chemically. I have never heard anyone else mention this, but what I experienced was real.

    Perhaps your brother is obsessed with his new project as an item on his bucket list. But maybe the cancer growing in his prostate actually affected his personality by means of a physical process.
    Hi RobLee, You have raised an intriguing question. And, yes, while neither of us has heard anyone else mention it, this effect would be hard to disprove. As studies show that most men have some trace of PCa in their 70's, is that why many of them have adverse personality changes? Or, is it due to less agility and decreased sexual ability? I have little clue, and is a good topic to explore. It would seem to me that you have created a research project for yourself, if you want to pursue it.
    DOB: May 1944
    In Active Surveillance program at Johns Hopkins
    Strict protocol of tests, including PHI, DRE, MRI, and biopsy.
    Six biopsies from 2009 to 2019. Numbers 1, 2, and 5 were negative. Numbers 3,4, and 6 were positive with 5% Gleason(3+3) found. Last one was Precision Point transperineal.
    PSA has varied up and down from 3 to 10 over the years. Is 4.0 as of September 2019.
    Hopefully, I can remain untreated. So far, so good.

  2. #12
    Newbie New User
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    I have found the response overwhelming.
    And I have taken every reply to heart.
    I cannot reply to specific medical questions, because they are out of my sphere of medical competence which every professional should recognize, but I can reply to the psychological ones, in which I am an expert in.
    I am tearful with the replies I have had.
    When you join a group you really don't know what to expect.
    I am only glad that I found it.
    I will give the best advice that I can.


  3. #13
    Newbie New User
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Dear RobLee,
    I think that that the emotional problems associated with a physiological diagnosis are not accounted for. No disrespect for the medical clinicians in this process. But the psychological consequences are often dismissed by medical practitioners. I thank you for being so honest about your medical state. You must remember that medical practitioners are not psychologists, and I respect them for what they do.
    Being a clinical scientist I agree with you that not enough has been done in exploring the association between a medical intervention and resulting psychological state.
    With regards to my brother, I think you are pretty much on the mark.

    I hope to hear from you again.

    All my best regards.


  4. #14
    Robert, i am neither a doctor, not a psychologist but I do get what its like to have cancer. I am a few months into this journey and can share the emotional ride can be a tough one at times. I use writing as a meditative tool and wrote the below some time ago which may be helpful to allow you to understand. Just love your brother as he shows up! Peace Denis

    I have cancer in my body and my job is to keep it out of my spirit! The shock of cancer can only be understood by those who have it. I have known many who had cancer and felt empathy for them but did not get the gut-wrenching shock until my doctor said, “you have cancer!” My mind went to almost shut down as he talked, and I am sure I heard little of what he had to say. The first impact of cancer was a profound loneliness and a guttery level of fear that I have never experienced.
    The early days of being diagnosed were a mess of ignorance and fear, two forces which can do a number on your mind and spirit. I could distract the fear though information, reading and talking with others. However, there were those times like sleepless nights or just a flash of the possible treatments that could send me into a tailspin. Sure, there was comfort in reading other guys success stories and with that come the unsuccessful stories which seemed to overwhelm the success stories.
    Cancer is a lonely disease. Support groups, forums and the like take the edge off and there are just times that the Dis-Ease sets in your heart and drags you down. The other force which makes it so difficult is the slowness of treatment decisions and how the medical system moves. I find it discomforting to hear “take you times, no rush, etc.” While this is good advice to learn and understand your options, the fact that months must go by to get to a treatment decision is not comforting.
    Having cancer is a physical ailment and if I am not careful it will become a spiritual and mental ailment also. This is when fear overwhelms logic and trust. I have had hours of deep confusion and near despair because I let the cancer get in my mind and in my spirit. And those around me also suffer due to my discomfort.
    It is critical for me and those around me that I show up strong and ready to be the best I can be today with cancer. I cannot change that fact, but I can choose how I show up today. I cannot predict how my disease will manifest, how effective the treatment will be and what side effects will happen in the future. But I can decide to be as healthy as I can be today. I can help those around me, be grateful for the life I have today. Yes, I can choose to be grateful with cancer! I have already met dozens of guys who share the disease and we have laughed and worried together, have share advice and experiences, and shared hope and courage.
    As Movemeber approaches and our disease will get some awareness, I am committed to keep my spirit grateful, to be clear about being the best I can be today, and to move forward on the cancer journey.
    65 YO healthy man
    PSA had been 4.1/2 for a couple of years,
    PSA 5/1/17 4.6,
    Multiparametric MRI, 5/15/17 showed a lesion
    13 core needle biopsy 3 cores positive 3+3 and one positive in the lesion, may be overlap
    All cores less than 30%
    8/22/17 - second opinion pathology shows a small amount of (3+4) in one core, < 5%, ordered decipher to inform next steps
    9/27/17 -Decipher test shows intermediate-risk so now exploring treatment options.
    2/6/18 - completed HDR-BT
    5/3/18 Post HDR BT PSA 1.3
    9/18/18 PSA 1.2
    4/1/19 PSA 1.0 Testosterone 475
    10/28/19 PSA 0.4 Testosterone 524
    Thanks, Denis
    "One day at a time"

  5. #15
    Top User
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Personalities are difficult to change and I can not imagine what mechanisim will cause a change with the removal of the prostate.

    If real, the simplest answer is an age related change in his brain. Manifestation of an oncoming change can be stress related to the experience of cancer and major medical procedures.

    There is little to no connection between the prostate and personality. I have experienced none nor have I witnessed any on this site. There are many normal emotional responses to this disease and it's treatment that are manifestations of personality and not the cause of changes in personality. Another simple answer is you don't know your brother as well as you thought you did.

    If a personality change is real then professional help is next if possible. Your diagnosing it and seeking confirmation on the internet will not go very far for your brother are you. I'd suggest you offer your observation to your brother and recommend he be seen by a professional for that concern.

    What control do you have over your brother that you can let him pursue his interest or not? Imo, this forum is not an appropriate venue for discussion of your relationship with your brother. I also recommend you seek professional counseling on the best course for you and your relationship with your brother.

    Your apparent use of your own name while revealing personal medical information about your brother is a breach of ethics that indicates you are not the professional you present yourself to be.

    I suspect you're trolling on a site dedicated to serving those experiencing a very personal and life threatening disease.
    Last edited by Another; 11-23-2017 at 03:08 PM.

  6. #16
    To all the posters on this topic: Try Googling "prostatectomy causing personality changes", and watch what comes up! It's a wonder this topic has never surfaced before considering the size of the PC forum, although it would appear to require somebody other than the patient themselves to report it. (!!) Robert: Your reply that your brother is NOT a veteran aircraft builder or mechanic confirms my concerns, but in retrospect this gives you time to work on the personality part of the problem, which is the crucial issue. Building an airplane from scratch or a set of plans is an incredibly difficult task, and then getting the thing actually running and high enough off the ground to seriously hurt yourself is extremely unlikely. As such, there is no immediate need for you to try and deal with this, and you can just work on the emotional problems, which are the root of this issue anyway.

    Good luck and best wishes. DMW...
    05/6/16 pre-op physical for surgery show low WBC & RBC
    5/22/16 [Birthday] Results of BM biopsy: AML 25% blasts with inv t(3:3) mutation, HIGH risk
    5/30/16 Undergo 3+7 chemo, but it doesn't touch AML, infections nearly kill me. Blasts 65%
    7/04/16 Diagnosis now Refractory AML. [:tombstone:]Six cycles of azacitidine, 21 shots over 7 days w/ 1.5" needle into gut + below navel.
    11/05/16 Move to NOLA - Infusion center 4 minutes away. 15 shots for 5 days with 5/8" 25 ga. needle Huge increase in quality of life.
    12/28/16 BMB shows blasts 12%
    4/16/17 BMB shows CD34 16%, cycles dropped to 4 weeks
    7/20/17 Diagnosis changed to "indolent leukemia", aka MDS
    7/27/17 BMB shows CD34 17%
    8/15/17 Venclexta chemo in PILL form added Onc estimates survival time now 2 - 4 YEARS.
    10/26/17 BMB results show 17/20 metaphases with inv(3:3) mutation-low blood cell counts - transfusions ineffective
    12/4/17 Diagnosis: Uncontrolled refractory AML

  7. #17
    Newbie New User
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Dear RobLee
    I really feel for your history. It is the age old mind body question. As psychologists we are trained to put everything down to every behaviour and emotional response as having been conditioned. To a large extent this is true.
    However, when traumatic episodes occur in our lives, these sometimes are inadequate.

    I think that this might be a platform to conduct qualitative research into the experiences that people really have.


  8. #18
    Newbie New User
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Dear DMW

    That is exactly what I am worried about. I trust my brother with replacing a door or a window, but an airplane that's a different matter. However there is nothing I can do to stop him.

    Many thanks for your reply.


  9. #19
    Senior User
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Everyone on here has read and heard many times of how dealing with a cancer diagnosis affects each of us differently. The first time you hear the "C" word and it's directed at you, know that your life has just changed and you can never go back. That said, your brothers reaction seems unusual. Be there for him to the extent you are able.
    I have a brother dealing with P C, he calls me "coach" and that makes me proud.
    Age 70, ( now 73 ) consistent low psa till now, dre's are very important as this got way ahead of me without them!
    PSA rise 3.8 to 4.3 ( 10/2014 )
    No family history, one of eleven siblings.
    Biopsy 11/20/14 Gleason 9 with 5+4, T2c score
    9 or 10 of 12 positive 12/04/14
    Cat scan, bone scan, m r i show confined to prostate gland
    Two weeks intensive research....HT and radiation decision made
    First HT 12/16/14 lots of side effects ( Degarelix ) (3/11 pain and bruising at injection site, sleep issues, sweats and maybe some dark thoughts)
    Second HT 1/13 no side effects ( Eligard )( much easier than the 30 day, no pain or bruising, only sweats and sleep issues )
    Cat scan and tattoos 3/6/15 Dry run 3/18 actual radiation on 3/19
    Wrapped up the radiation on 5/22 and met the Memorial Day goal!
    Second six month Eligard on 7/14/15. If follow up PSA test goes well may opt out.
    .01 PSA at 90 day follow up, opted out of h t after a year. Still undetectable after three years.

  10. #20
    Newbie New User
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    To another
    I don't quite understand what you mean by an 'age related change in his brain'.
    As we age we all have age related difficulties, and they affect us in various ways. Usually these can be understood by examining the premorbid personality.

    As to the connection between prostate and personality, we really don't know, and that is why I ask this forum to contribute to a fuller understanding.

    I asked for help on this site as it might help my brother and myself in our relationship.

    My original post was a personal one. There is no breach of medical confidentiality. Otherwise the site would not exist. We have to talk and share our experience with other people who are suffering.

    Under your criteria there would be no site to exchange this personal and valuable information which affects so many peoples lives.
    This site is one which people can honestly tell the community about how they feel about the most devastating condition they will ever have.



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