I was devastated when I received my prostate cancer diagnosis and felt that my GP didn’t explain all the treatment options available to me. When I learned that the waiting time for treatment on the NHS was going to be at least three months, and that the conventional radiotherapy offered to me in the UK would take 36 weeks for treatment, I decided to research further options. I found the Proton Therapy Center in Prague after my own internet research and was impressed because it was much less likely that I would suffer from side effects.
I was treated in March 2016, with treatment taking just over four weeks. The treatment took place every day for about fifteen minutes and I was free to enjoy Prague for the rest of the day as I was not suffering from any significant side effects. I was happy with my experience at the clinic, it was painless and with very understanding nurses, I felt at ease.
I am able to enjoy life now, knowing that I am fully treated and don’t suffer from any side effects from proton therapy. My son lives in Thailand with his Thai wife, and my wife and I divide our time between West Sussex in the summer and Thailand in the winter. There is nothing that I can’t do now that I could before the treatment. I recommend proton therapy because it can cure the problem quickly and painlessly with minimal problems afterwards.
When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer my medical team initially suggested Active Surveillance, a common option recommended to men in the UK with prostate cancer. This would have meant monitoring the cancer and waiting to see how it progresses before I would be treated. I was unhappy with this option so my medical team discussed other available treatments, such as conventional radiotherapy, brachytherapy and chemotherapy. I researched some of these options on the NHS website, and it was only when I discussed what I found out with my consultant that my doctor began to share more thorough and detailed information. I didn’t like the prospect of long treatment times for these options, and was worried about the possible side effects.
I decided to research alternative treatment options and found the Prague Proton Therapy Center on the internet. I decided to contact the centre and was very happy with the service provided by the Patient Management team. Every detail leading up to my trip to the centre was very easy as the team were very helpful and reassuring throughout.
I was treated in 2015 over the period of about a month. I was initially nervous about whether I made the right decision, however I was reassured when I arrived at the centre in Prague. There is always a concern for any patient having a new or unusual treatment. I expected it to be very sore after each treatment or even have nausea. This was not the case and I felt very good overall.
My health is very good now, I am feeling positive about the future and there is nothing I can’t do now that I could before treatment. I have a sister who lives in Canada, and family in Ireland, who I am happy that I can continue to visit regularly. I am happy with my decision to travel to Prague for treatment not available in the UK, I would recommend the Proton Therapy Center because I believe it is the best treatment available. It is efficient and it offers a better quality of life. I have told men I know, why wait with Active Surveillance, contact the centre and have it done.
Initially my Urologist recommended a radical prostatectomy but I was concerned about the efficacy and adverse consequences of surgery. I requested a consultation with a Radiation Oncologist who suggested three months of hormone therapy followed by a course of standard radiotherapy over two months and a course of brachytherapy, followed by a further 18 months of hormones.
I’m feeling very well and am optimistic about the future, my PSA level is now 0.86. I am now able to get back to riding my bike and enjoying the seaside where I live in Leigh-on-Sea. My son lives in Toronto and now that I have been successfully treated I can continue to visit him two or three times a year. I would unreservedly recommend treatment of prostate cancer at the PTC.
Through my work as a shipbroker I came into contact with American corporations who included PSA testing in their employees annual health screening. Without annual screening the PSA test is not really any use without previous results to compare it to, unless it is so high as to leave no doubt there is something wrong. This is why I believe regular screening tests should be available in the UK.
My doctor didn’t appreciate the benefit of annual tests to monitor PSA levels. My GP was no help at all, he was critical of the fact that for past 5 years I had requested annual PSA tests and tried to dissuade me from having it. So I bought a test online and did it myself after I was struggling to go to the bathroom. When my results showed an increase in PSA and my GP didn’t show any interest I chose to visit a private consultant. An examination discovered a problem with my prostate but I was advised that this was normal for a man of my age and was not offered further assistance. Through my own research about the diagnosis of prostate cancer I decided I wasn’t happy to wait for the issue to get worse and had another PSA test done privately six months later. After sharing these results with my GP I once again received a dismissive response, his reply was “you are being grossly unfair because if you have prostate cancer and I tell you to do nothing then you will sue me”. As a result of this approach, I decided to contact the Proton Therapy Center in Prague who referred me to a PTC consultant in the UK. The consultant conducted an MRI scan and biopsy which confirmed a tumour. When I informed my GP I would be going to Prague for proton therapy he told me he was not prepared to be the doctor to do any follow up testing when I returned.
I felt unhappy with my experience on the NHS and with the treatment options in the UK so I chose to speak out when I read an article about it in a national newspaper. I wrote the paper a letter in response to the article, and they published it. I believe that the standard option recommended for men in the UK with low risk prostate cancer – active surveillance – is not the best choice.
In 2015 I was treated at the Prague Proton Therapy Center every second day over the period of about 3 weeks. I was in the treatment room for only about 20 minutes each time and on the days I wasn’t treated I went shopping and sightseeing. I stayed at a hotel near the centre and walked to and from there for each treatment.
I heard about the centre through the story of Ashya King being in the media, the little boy from the UK who was treated there. I was a bit apprehensive about the treatment itself, but I needn’t have been. I didn’t really feel anything at all, I’ve had worse pain at the dentist. I was expecting to feel ill during treatment but apart from some minor side effects towards the end of treatment I had no pain or problems. The environment of the treatment centre is caring and professional and nothing was too much trouble.
I think more men need to be aware of the risks of prostate cancer and not feel embarrassed about getting tested. One of the things I’ve realised is how ignorant most men are about it. Since my treatment I’ve had five or six men get in touch with me about my experience. I ask them what their PSA reading is, and they don’t have a clue. There is a certain level of embarrassment related to prostate cancer. Women aren’t the same about breast cancer. So my view is the more it’s talked about the better it is. Education is key, as is the PSA test.
I initially had no symptoms of prostate cancer, I was diagnosed through a routine PSA test with my GP and was shocked to discover I had cancer. My diagnosis had a significant impact on my wife and three daughters, it caused them lots of distress and worry, resulting in many sleepless nights. My GP referred me to a Urologist who recommended I follow Active Surveillance, which I believe is a common option suggested to men in Ireland with prostate cancer. I initially agreed to this plan, however I quickly reconsidered and decided I was not happy to do nothing and wait.
I heard about proton therapy through an Irish friend who had already been successfully treated with this technique, however my Urologist was not familiar with it. I researched the Proton Therapy Center in Prague and found that it appealed due to the use of the latest modern technology – pencil beam scanning, and because it is very accurately targeted, which means it does not damage healthy tissue surrounding the tumour.
My wife came to Prague to support me through the treatment. My treatment only lasted two weeks so we didn’t have to take much time off work. I was lucky that my treatment was partially reimbursed by my private Irish insurance company. I was initially nervous about whether I had made the right decision, especially considering the negativity expressed by my Urologist, however once I entered the Proton Center in Prague, I was very impressed. The staff were excellent and approachable. The facility, including equipment are state of the art. The consultants are very professional and I received continuous feedback.
I have nothing but positives to say about having my treatment at the Prague Proton Therapy Center. It is very professionally run, has state of the art equipment, excellent staff at all levels, from reception to the consultants and I strongly felt I was in safe hands.
I’m in good health now, since my treatments I have had two blood tests and it shows my PSA levels reducing, so I believe all is good! I feel very positive about the future, and I firmly believe that I made the correct decision in having the Proton Therapy treatment. My wife also says she would recommend proton therapy and we both believe that people need to be aware of this excellent treatment.
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