Colin was diagnosed with localised prostate cancer in 2010 and underwent a radical prostatectomy. Pelvic floor exercises helped his bladder function return to normal, but he was experiencing erectile problems. Here Colin, now aged 71, describes his journey.

My experience

I didn’t have any side effects at all before my diagnosis. I just went to the doctor for a routine blood test and had a PSA level of 16.

I then went for a biopsy and of the 12 samples taken, two were cancerous. I was so shocked when I was told I had cancer, it literally came out of the blue.

My biggest fear was incontinence, so I started doing a lot of pelvic floor exercises

I studied in medicine when I was younger, but never practiced, and a lot of my friends are doctors who advised me to have my prostate removed. They said this would be more beneficial in the long-term and it was what I wanted.

My biggest fear was incontinence, but three weeks before the operation I started doing a lot of pelvic floor exercises. I still do them now and I’ve never had a problem.

I was told after the operation that some of my nerve endings had been damaged but some were OK, which would affect my erectile function. I had no erectile function whatsoever following the operation, but over time this has really improved. It’s not perfect but it’s a lot better. I was offered a lot of different options, like Viagra, which helped. My wife has also been very supportive.

Seeing the funny side of life helped me get through this whole experience

I’ve always remained positive and tried to see the funny side of life, which has helped me get through this whole experience.

I now do one-to-one sessions with men who’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer at my doctor’s surgery, to share my story and offer advice and support where I can. I’ve found that most men I’ve spoken to have been terrified and once they hear the word cancer it sends them into a panic.

I’m also working with masonic lodges and give awareness talks to groups of up to 100 people at a time. I want to help raise awareness of prostate cancer amongst men so they go and see a doctor and get tested before it’s too late.

 

Personal stories

Paul's story

Paul, 64, had surgery which caused problems leaking urine (incontinence). He talks about how this affected him, how he managed it and the different treatments he tried for erection problems, including a vacuum pump.

There are a number of solutions to whatever it is – incontinence or erectile dysfunction. And like in all these things, if one doesn’t work, keep moving on, keep trying it.

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