Prostate cancer treatment is free; the side effects can be too high a price to pay
Prostate Cancer Despite being shellshocked after diagnosis of prostate cancer, Lloyd Bantleman was keen to find out about all his treatment options and their potential side-effects.
Being diagnosed with prostate cancer was a traumatic experience. Getting the call from my doctor — who confirmed that my PSA level (Prostate-Specific Antigen, a blood test that can detect the early signs of an enlarged prostate) was higher than it should be — was both bewildering and frightening.
My imagination was running wild. Close family members have died from cancer and my father has been living with prostate cancer for several years. I didn’t know what to do and, after confirming the appointment with my GP, I sat down with my wife and cried.
My doctor later explained that my PSA level indicated that there might be cancer in my prostate and that I should wait to see a specialist. He assured me that my chance of survival was good.
I waited for over three weeks for my first meeting with a consultant urologist who explained that there are four prescribed ways of treating prostate cancer: hormone therapy, radiotherapy, brachytherapy and, finally, radical prostatectomy. He recommended radical prostatectomy as it was his speciality. He said it was very common, and was confident that I would be able to continue to lead a ‘normal life’ afterwards. He suggested that, before I made my mind up, I speak to other specialists about their areas of treatment.
So I started to do my own research and discovered that radical prostatectomy — though very successful from a cure point of view — can carry some severe side-effects, including erectile dysfunction, plus bladder and bowel disorders... and potentially for the rest of a patient's life.
Then I discovered a hi-tech alternative treatment for prostate cancer called proton therapy which has been used in the United States for over 20 years, has cure rates in excess of 95% and minimal or no long-term side effects. Prices at American institutes were too high, however; so I contacted a facility in Prague where hundreds of men have been treated for prostate cancer at a more affordable price. I sent them my blood tests, MRI scan, and all relevant details and within a few days I was informed that they had reviewed my case and were confident that they could help.
Within a week I was sitting in a consulting room in Prague with a consultant who told me about all the treatments available and their various side effects. Proton treatment is highly accurate and can take between five and 20 days, depending on the type of tumour.
Seven months after my initial diagnosis, I started my proton treatment sessions. These were painless and lasted around 15 minutes every other day over a 10 day period. And that was it; afterwards we enjoyed Prague and had a wonderful time. Three months later, I have no side effects — and I'm on top of the world.