I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 57 not having experienced any problems or ill health.
In 40 years of working I think I had only ever been sick for 2 weeks.
I had gone to see my GP for painkillers for a painful hip and back, to enable me to finish a building job I was doing before Christmas and he suggested that I return in the New Year for a routine MOT, i.e. blood tests.
I was pretty complacent about it and never intended to make such an appointment, but my WIFE did it for me and I went along for the tests … cholesterol, diabetes, and PSA – which I hadn’t heard of.
Within two days the surgery had contacted me regarding the result of the PSA test.
I had a DRE and was referred to a Consultant Urologist.
Following on from there I had a needle biopsy (which confirmed the presence of cancer cells) and scans, and was asked what I wanted to do. The options were – “watch and wait” ; surgery or radiotherapy.
In the meantime, we had researched other options and I decided I would try brachytherapy and went to Leeds where this particular procedure was being done.
I had a course of Zoladex injections for a few months to try and reduce the size of the prostate in readiness for the procedure .. but unfortunately in my case it was not successful (prostate was too large) and the nbrachytherapy was not an option.
I then underwent radiotherapy at Velindre hospital and experienced very few side effects.
What I would say is – thanks to my GP I was lucky for this to be diagnosed in its early stages, BUT at the time, I didn’t know, and it wasn’t explained to me that such pain in the pelvic area ( the reason for my visit to the GP) could be as a result of prostate cancer extending outside the prostate gland itself.
I wouldn’t have been so complacent if I’d known or it had been explained to me.
Also, when attending the hospital.. I appreciate I was not one of the worst cases.. and I also apprecite any decision had to be mine – but I felt at the time that the professionals couldn’t make up their mind which course of action was best for me.
I know that a high reading in the PSA test in itself is not necessarily indicative of cancer, but it is the only method we currently have and it is a starting block or a marker.
Since having been diagnosed I have urged as many men as possible (over 50) to request this test. BUT, I would urge caution here… if you don’t want to know the answer, or cant handle the results of the test, this can be a problem.
I think there needs to be much more publicity about the PSA test.
Like most cancers, if it is detected early enough the long term outcome is far better.
Before having the biopsy I asked for a guesstimate of the chances of my having prostate cancer on my PSA readingat the time and was told 30%… I appreciate it was only an educated guess… but it proved to me how important it was to have the biopsy, which detected the cancer.
I felt I had to keep asking questions… the information was not given easily… especially when it came to surgery and the risk of subsequent incontinence. It was a deciding factor for me to go for radiotherapy when I was told in answer to my question the risk of incontinence following surgery was 70%. I felt I needed as much information as possible to make an informed decision.