In 2000, Paul was a 50-year-old member of the US Air Force and was sent for a routine health check. A PSA test showed slightly raised levels, so he was sent for a biopsy. Although his results came back clear, he was monitored over the next couple of years. In 2007, another biopsy revealed Paul had localised prostate cancer and he opted for a radical prostatectomy. Now aged 67 and living in Oxford, Paul tells us about his experience of the most common cancer in men.

Focus on the good things in life

I’d been a part of the US Air Force for 20 years, so the care I received was fantastic. Before my diagnosis, I didn’t really have any symptoms, apart from getting up a few times in the middle of the night to go to the toilet. But I just put that down to age.

When I got my diagnosis, my wife and I discussed it and we decided we just wanted to get ride of the cancer. So I opted for surgery, which didn’t use quite as advanced techniques compared to what’s available now.

I found the vacuum pump works quite well for me, but it’s not the same as I was before treatment

Before the operation my doctor said I’d suffer with incontinence for the rest of my life – and I do. But over the years, this has slowly improved.

Since surgery, I’ve also had erectile dysfunction. Things don’t work the way they used to but my wife and I are both happy with the way things are. We’ve got a lot of other things to enjoy in our life.

I’ve tried a few different treatments and I found the vacuum pump works quite well for me, but it’s not the same as I was before treatment.

Mentally, I’ve felt fine. To my mind, you get something fixed and you move on. My family was really affected because once you hear the word cancer, people start to panic a bit. But I had a great doctor and received really good treatment, so I never felt that worried.

My advice to other men going through tough times is to be positive and focus on the good things in life

I’ve done a few awareness talks on behalf of Prostate Cancer UK with different groups of men. I’ve found that when you meet other people who have the same problem as you, it’s easier to relate and talk openly about it.

One of my friends spoke to me about his experience of prostate cancer and asked me about my experience, and it felt like a release being able to understand what we’ve both been through.

There are so many different forms of cancer and so many good organisations, like Prostate Cancer UK, that nowadays people are living longer. And there’s always support available if you need it. My advice to other men going through tough times is to be positive and focus on the good things in life.

Personal stories

Phil Kissi MBE's story

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2006. I visited my GP after watching a television programme about prostate cancer and thought I could be at risk after learning that African Caribbean men are three times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease than white men.

I didn't have any symptoms but I knew a couple of test results were a bit concerning. I had a biopsy and it turned out I had early stage, aggressive prostate cancer.

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