Prostate Cancer and Me

Written by Mark Keatley-Palmer

Over 2 years ago I was sent a routine letter from my doctor inviting me to go for a routine wellness check-up. I read the letter but as I felt fine, I didn’t take any real notice of it, so in reality I just ignored it like thousands of other people do when they receive the invitation.

Last November I made an appointment to see my doctor on a totally unrelated problem. While I was with the doctor, she suggested that they did the wellness check-up as I was at the surgery. As part of the check-up I had a series of blood tests.

One of these blood tests came back showing that further investigations were needed, and within days I was booked in for a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test, followed soon after by an MRI scan, then later by a prostrate biopsy and other tests.

I received an appointment to see the Consultant on the 1st March 2018. When I saw the Consultant he confirmed my fears that I do actually have Prostate Cancer. I am very lucky, in as much as the cancer is completely contained within my prostate and has not spread outside of the gland.

My Consultant advised me of all my options straight away, these included Brachytherapy which consists of radiation seeds being implanted into the prostate gland to treat the cancer, or surgery to remove the gland completely. The Consultant Nurse, my key-worker, ran through all the side effects of the different treatments and I made the decision immediately to have surgery.

One of the side effects of Brachytherapy meant I was radioactive, and I was told I should avoid have a child sitting on my lap or be in close proximity to a pregnant woman for at least two months, my initial thought with this treatment was “what about my partner lying in bed with me every night” I wasn’t willing to take that risk or live with the uncertainty that it would result in a cure. As far as I was concerned it was a no brainer decision to have the radical surgery.

Last week I had a pre-op appointment to discuss things like time in theatre, recovery time, side effects that may happen and the exercises and treatments to help minimise them. I have been given mobile phone numbers of two NHS urology nurses if I have any questions prior to, or if there are any problems after the op. If I leave a message they will call me straight back

I am having a pre-op assessment in a few days and the operation will follow within two weeks. The operation will be performed at Eastbourne NHS and entails a robotic prostatectomy and this will be within four months of my initial doctor’s appointment.

I have had no symptoms whatsoever; if I hadn’t gone to the doctors for an unrelated problem the outcome to my cancer may have been a different and a much shorter story!

My message to everyone who receives the wellness check-up letters is to go and get checked, this can be a silent killer with no symptoms. Don’t put it off, it is important for you to be checked.

My father had prostate cancer later in life; a good friend of mine lost his father within the last 2 years due to cancer and has himself undergone the same operation. Why was I living in the fools belief that it wouldn’t happen to me?

Please don’t ignore those letters, Cancer can happen to anyone.

1 Comment

  1. Mark,you have a very good doctor. I am not sure many readers will know that a PSA test (as part of a blood test) is discredited by many GPs, on the grounds of a good reading being obtained quite frequently when the patient does actually have prostrate cancer (false negatives, I believe they call this). So some doctors do not put forward patients in a vulnerable group routinely for a PSA test. They do not offer the alternative of a digital rectal examination. This is disgraceful. Screening for men across the board, but in particular for prostate cancer is in its infancy. There is a range of groups outide of GPs surgeries that offer PSA tests, such as PCaSO (Prostate Cancer UK) – I go to the Uckfield one every year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.