In 2005, John, then 49, decided it was time to have a general health check. Included was a PSA test and John’s results were surprisingly high. His doctor did a DRE and he was later referred for a biopsy. Shortly afterwards, John was diagnosed with localised prostate cancer and opted for a radical prostatectomy. He tells us about his journey to recovery.

My journey

It was just a routine health check. I felt well and didn’t have any symptoms at all.

When I was told I had cancer, it was like my world had imploded. I wanted to get rid of the cancer so I opted for surgery. I wasn’t told before the operation about any of the potential side effects, which came as a massive shock.

I was peeing blood for about six weeks and found it really painful to go to the toilet

Afterwards, I didn’t experience any incontinence and was back at work after two weeks. But I was peeing blood for about six weeks and found it really painful to go to the toilet.

I also couldn’t get an erection at all. I went to see a nurse but it took me a while to get an appointment. I tried some pills, but they had no effect. Then I heard about the injections and decided to try it, and that worked really well.

The injections give you a slightly different sensation compared to normal sex, and it takes a while for the erection to go down. But it definitely improves things. I’ve found you have to plan it, which doesn’t sound romantic. But it can be, and luckily I have a very supportive wife.

When nothing is working down below, you don’t feel like a man

After treatment I also noticed a change in my behaviour. I became quite moody, and as I’m a fairly anxious person, I couldn’t stop worrying about everything.

My erectile problems also made me grumpy and frustrated – when nothing is working down below, you don’t feel like a man. It’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.

I now do awareness talks on behalf of Prostate Cancer UK and guys always find it awkward talking about sex. But once the jokes are out of the way, they do listen.

Before my diagnosis, I always thought prostate cancer was an old man’s disease. I didn’t know the facts. That's why I’m passionate about talking to other men who don’t know their risk.

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Martin's story

Martin, 58, had surgery, radiotherapy and hormone therapy which meant he couldn't get an erection and lost his desire for sex. He tried different treatments for erections and changed his approach to sex - discovering his more sensuous side.

If I’m positive in my head, that’s not the same as being positive in my heart. To feel positive in the heart - that to me, is key to this.

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