I still remember being told that I had prostate cancer. When I heard those words, I honestly thought I’d be dead within six months. But here I am 17 years later!
I started off on radiotherapy and hormone therapy. I don’t remember exactly when it occurred to me that I was not imminently going to die. It probably was when the hormone treatment, before radiotherapy, started to lower my PSA level – it told me my cancer was responding. And seeing men at a local support group who had had prostate cancer for many years really helped.
Everything looked ok for a while after radiotherapy but in 2006 my PSA started rising and the doctor confirmed that my cancer had returned, and with it all the anxiety and confusion that the word cancer invokes. I then started hormone therapy. The side effects were tough for both me and my wife – hot sweats, weight gain, low libido. But I thought, “What the hell – I’m alive.”
The hormone therapy side effects were tough for both me and my wife – hot sweats, weight gain, low libido.
Hormone therapy kept me going for about nine years but about a year ago my PSA started creeping up again. My cancer has now spread and I’ve started on more treatment.
At times I’ve felt very angry. I thought that if there had been a screening programme, my cancer could have been detected earlier. I’ve read all the arguments for and against a screening programme. But it’s difficult to accept that there isn’t a screening programme because, for me, I think it could have helped. Perhaps I’d have been able to have surgery.
I was also angry about my radiotherapy not working. I kept thinking, “If only they had aimed the beam at the right place or used a stronger dose.” Those are difficult thoughts to have. I had lots of questions and no answers.
At times I’ve felt very angry.