Gleason Score 7 Prostate Cancer & Decision Process To Do Prostatectomy

I had been monitoring my PSA annually since 40 years old, and mainly because my father was diagnosed as having prostate cancer at the age of 66. I knew I was genetically at risk, but didn’t think to worry about it. So when my PSA shot up from normal levels to 5.4 …

John Maloblocki, surgery performed on August 27, 2008

Gleason Score 7 - Dr. Gholami Prostatectomy

John Maloblocki, scoring a goal at the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships 2007

Shortly after the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships in frigid cold Minneapolis, I had the biopsy that I had been putting off for a year. The shocking result was positive for prostate cancer.

I had been monitoring my PSA annually since 40 years old, and mainly because my father was diagnosed as having prostate cancer at the age of 66. I knew I was genetically at risk, but didn’t think to worry about it. So when my PSA shot up from normal levels to 5.4 in October 2006 I became concerned but did nothing. Six months later my PSA still remained high, but attributed that to a very stressful period of my life at work and with the death of my father in February 2007 (he died of leukemia, not directly related to his prostate cancer but possibly it was a contributing factor).

Finally acknowledging that I should see a urologist, I sought out a highly recognized expert from Stanford University who recommended that I immediately have a biopsy to confirm or deny prostate cancer. Reluctant, I sought out second and third opinions from other highly recommended urologists in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. David Nudell convinced me that I should have a biopsy and in early March 2008 I did. On our wedding anniversary my wife and I had decided to stop by the doctor’s office, on our way to dinner, to get the results. The result was not what we wanted to hear -positive for prostate cancer in 2 out of the 10 biopsies. The good news that it had been detected early, clinical state T1c. But the bad news was a Gleason score of 7 (3+4), which meant it was growing rapidly. My wife and I were stunned.

I had been stubborn up till this point. But now this was not just about me, it was about my family – my wife and two boys ages 6 and 8.

The next three months we dove into the research, reading books and seeking consultations, reviewing all the treatment options available to me including: prostatectomy; external beam radiation; brachytherapy; proton therapy; or watchful waiting. I selected what Dr. Nudell had initially recommended, prostatectomy. Once I decided on the treatment now all that was left was selecting the best surgeon.

I selected Dr. Shawn Gholami, and had surgery on August 27, 2008. The surgery went according to plan and all lymph nodes removed came back negative when tested for any trace levels of cancerous cells. As of this writing, I am six weeks post surgery and my recovery is proceeding ahead of plan. I have resumed heavy exercise just 5 weeks after surgery and skated for the first time last night. In January I will return to the U.S. Pond Championships again in Minneapolis.

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