Recovering from prostate cancer

 

“My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer and his brother, Peter, received the same diagnosis a few years earlier. He was really adamant that my brother and I should get ourselves to our doctors for a check-up. “So during Christmas 2010, I went along to see a doctor to ask if I could have a PSA blood test to see if anything might be wrong.

The first doctor that I saw at the practice suggested that the PSA test was not entirely reliable and talked me through its pros and cons. He was entirely professional and gave me material to read to help me make a decision. Initially I decided not to have the test.”

 

Family history

 

“Just a short while later, I went back to see a different doctor at the surgery, who thought I should have a PSA test because of my family history. “The test showed that my PSA level was raised, so to be on the safe side, the doctor did a repeat test. When this came back again with a PSA reading higher than is probably normal in someone my age, I was referred to a specialist for an internal examination and biopsy.

“On 14 March, I was told by one of the surgeons at the hospital that I did have prostate cancer and that the best treatment option for me would be for me to have the prostate gland completely removed.

“It was just a very strange period. Although the diagnosis wasn’t completely out the blue, it still really knocked me.”

 

Knowing your options

 

“Although surgery seemed to be the treatment I’d go for, I was still keen to find out about other options, and so I went to see other specialists along with my dad. It was a real support to have him there both as my father and someone who was going through exactly the same situation. “I had the surgery in May, and although it’s still early days, the pain and bladder control — the side effects of the operation — are slowly getting better.

 

Sharing experiences of prostate cancer

 
It was just a very strange period. Although the diagnosis wasn’t completely out the blue, it still really knocked me.

“When I’ve told people about my prostate cancer, they’ve been quite understanding, but don’t really want to talk about it. Perhaps they just don’t have the vocabulary. It was interesting though how many people opened up about their own cancer experiences once I’d told them about mine. The Prostate Cancer Charity offers an online forum where men can share their experiences and talk together and that’s so important for men in my position.

“If it hadn’t been for my dad encouraging me to pay the doctor a visit, I probably would never have known I had prostate cancer as I, like many men, was symptomless. Awareness of this disease has grown over the past few years, but there is still some way to go.”