My diagnosis early in 2002 I had just turned 65 at the time.
I had decided to see my GP because my younger brother had suspicious symptoms with his prostate (which was later cleared) I had no symptoms, I had very little idea of what a prostate was or where it was located or what it did.
I had a PSA test (Prostate Specific Antigen), which I was told was elevated this meant very little to me, I didn’t even know what questions to ask my doctor about this high reading. I was then sent to an urologist specialist for further testing which included the D. I. R. Ultrasound and biopsy. The results came back positive and I had an aggressive cancer, this sent me into a spin as I began to think how much time do I have left, what about the family, having lost my wife and their mother to breast cancer seven years earlier I began to think the worst. We saw what she had to endure with surgery and chemotherapy. And I thought do I have to go through this also, what about the family? I had all the emotional feelings that come with somebody being told that they have the big C.
The urologist who was a surgeon suggested surgery as soon as possible and booked me into the hospital within six weeks. At that time I did not know about support groups or in fact anybody else with prostate cancer. I was given a few pamphlets to read and told to do some pelvic floor exercises, of which I knew nothing except what I had read in one of the pamphlets so it was a traumatic time for all of us.
The treatment I had what is called a prostatectomy this is the surgery that removes the prostate gland itself. I was told there was a chance that it could be incontinent as the area has a lot of nerves that can be damaged during an operation, he did say he would try to do and nerve sparing operation. I was in hospital about seven days. I’ll spare you the gruesome details, as much as to say it was not very pleasant. But like childbirth so I have been told you will get over it.
Follow Up Treatment:
Because I was told my cancer was aggressive the urologist referred me to the cancer care centre for what he called radiation therapy but the radiologist specialist, put me on to hormone therapy instead he believed that it would have been very hard to pinpoint any rogue cells. To briefly describe this, it suppresses testosterone that the cancer cells apparently thrive on. By introducing to the body what was described it to me as female hormones to reduce the testosterone. The side-effects are those of a woman in menopause with hot flushes night sweats lack of energy and irritability. I was on the treatment for about 12 months my PSA tests had come down and are very good ever since. I have a regular check-up every six months.
It was not until a few months after my operation that I read in the local newspaper of Prostate Cancer Support Group in the Penrith area with a phone number to ring for more information (1300 13 38 78). After contacting the then secretary Alan Moran I started going to the monthly meetings one of the things I become very aware of at these meetings was that there are many men in similar circumstances and that I was not alone It is now 2011 and with a lot of good humour and support we can survive. I have made many friends in this group in which I play an active part. I strongly recommend active surveillance of men’s health issues, in particular prostate awareness.
PSA testing is not 100% certain but it is the only test there is at this moment that can give some indication of the state of your prostate. I feel without this test I would have been much worse off than I am today, maybe not even here.