My diagnosis left me feeling stressed and anxious, I didn’t have any symptoms for prostate cancer other than a high PSA reading, at first I didn’t believe it, I was worried and unsure about my options and my future wellbeing. I agreed on ‘watchful waiting’ but as my PSA readings increased I became a lot more irritable.
I was recommended the prostatectomy- removal of the prostate, but I didn’t want the treatment it would have been a 2month wait and the side-effects weren’t the slightest bit appealing. During the wait for the operation my wife started looking at other options online, I tried herbal and vitamin D supplements at my wife’s request, we then looked into ultrasound treatment and then proton therapy.
We decided proton therapy was the best option for me as I wanted quality of life, this didn’t seem possible following-on from surgery as it was the non-nerve sparing prostatectomy that was proposed.
The information given by the NHS was very limited, they discussed what they wanted me to have and not all the options; I also received very little information about post-treatment. Proton therapy appealed to me as it was non-invasive and had little side-effects.
My treatment lasted 21 fractions, being away from home was lonely and during my treatment I got kidney stones which created more unwanted stress. Before my treatment started I needed hormone therapy which caused a delay in being treated. Hormone therapy drove me a little mad, I was almost a woman going through menopause; I became bad tempered, emotional, crying for no reason and just generally unreasonable, no-one mentioned these side-effects. The proton beam therapy also had a couple of side-effects for me, it left me with painful legs from the hip down to the knee and I also have a form of IBS which came on 2months ago.
Although I had some side-effects I’d still recommend it as it’s non-invasive, in my opinion the body has lots of parts which work together, removal of one part disturbs the whole balance of the body. One day I think there will be holistic treatments instead of departments that deal with selected parts of the body.
When I think about my future now, I’m still a little uncertain about the side-effects but mostly positive.
(Disclaimer: The patient image is for illustration only- this patient is happy to share their story but would like to protect their identity)