The allotted day has arrived. My appointment with the prostate cancer specialist who performed the template biopsy on me arrived and I went to see him. After the preamble about the procedure, he then confirmed that I had cancerous cells on my prostate, level T2, which is contained within the prostate. T3 mean cells outside the prostate are affected and T4 means cancer elsewhere in for example the lymph nodes. The level of infection is classed between 6 – 10, and mine is 7, so pretty low, thank goodness.
So, to the treatment. This was given as two alternatives: hormone and radiation therapy treatment followed by brachytherapy; or prostatectomy, removal of the prostrate and joining the tubes together. To explain the prostate, it’s basically a switch valve to port either urine or sperm from the appropriate vessel; the bladder or the sperm gland through the urethra and out of the penis. The prostate sits next to the bladder. Often there are no symptoms, but if there are they can be: needing to urinate more often, and needing to go immediately. There are other symptoms. Anyway I elected for the former treatment straight away, without having time to think about it. I’d heard that a prostatectomy can cause incontinence and other side effects, and I didn’t want that.So I will take my chances with the hormone/radiation therapy. This involves receiving a single hormone injection then a hormone tablet once a day for four weeks; then radiation therapy daily for four weeks at a major hospital under an oncologists supervision. Then under a general anaesthetic, the brachytherapy. This is the process that implants tiny ‘seeds’ of uranium into several parts of the prostate where they stay killing off any residual cancerous cells, and providing future protection. The outlook after all this treatment is good, and I should make a good recovery. ‘Should’ of course is a variable component but I’m hopeful.
Finally I urge ALL men, especially those over 50, to ask, nay, insist in a PSA test. Whilst not a definitive indication of cancerous cells; a high reading can for instance be caused by ejeculation, diet or even too much bike riding! But it can be an early warning of problems, which can be confirmed with other tests (see my previous blog on this subject). So, whatever your take on it, knowing that you may have a problem and that it is treatable, if detected early enough, is surely a spur to get yourself tested?