‘Just in case’, that’s the only reason I found out about my prostate cancer, I had no symptoms for it whatsoever just some muscular problems, but my doctor tested me as a precaution, it was lucky he did.
My initial reaction was utterly shocked and angry that I had not been briefed about prostate cancer and the treatments previously. After the diagnosis me and my wife felt anxious and stressed, I hid the information from my children for two years but eventually they found out and became concerned, despite feeling scared myself I played the whole thing down to avoid them getting worried.
I personally felt information was not delivered to me properly by my GP, I was then referred to the urologist to carry out tests such as: blood tests, MRI Scan, CAT scan, and a biopsy. Once the tests had been completed the treatments on offer to me were: surgery, active surveillance, radiotherapy. They personally came to the conclusion that the most appropriate treatment for me would be surgery with a 3-4week waiting time; they explained the surgery would be done in a day but didn’t give me an exact recovery time.
I began seeking alternative treatments after two long years of active surveillance and exploring many different treatments within the U.K, including clinical trials. The main motivation for looking elsewhere was the 50/50 chance the NHS was offering me of developing long-term side-effects such as incontinence and impotence. From my angle although it would be nice for it to be free in the U.K and to receive aftercare here, I believe quality of life is much more important.
The NHS is overloaded and slightly unreliable, I had conflicting reports following MRI scans regarding the size of my tumour. The whole message they conveyed for treatment was very negative, basically saying every treatment gives you life changing side-effects, not much of a push to get treated.
The treatments that don’t offer side-effects are not even discussed or suggested by the NHS, each consultant I saw discussed two different types of treatments which were essentially the treatments they specialised in, any other type of treatments I had to research myself.
During research I came across the Proton Therapy website, it immediately looked like a positive ‘can do’ professional approach with a reduction in side effects. I began the treatment and received 5 fractions and I have to say, I recommend Proton Therapy for all men as it offers the best opportunity to treat prostate cancer so you can carry on with your lives. Since the treatment my health is good and I’m awaiting my first post treatment test. Although it’s early days I feel positive.
Disclaimer: This patient is happy to share their story but would like to protect their identity.