Sally Payne

Sally Payne is a trans woman who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010. In 2006 at age 54, whilst she was living as a man, she had what she felt was the first warning of prostate cancer.

My experience

I had a urinary infection and was feeling extremely ill. The emergency doctor said that it was prostatitis or prostate cancer, but it was not investigated. Another doctor later did check the prostate and say it was rigid, but nothing happened. I was living as an androgynous man then. 
 
When I transitioned to living full-time as a trans woman in 2007, I was on hormones – oestrogen and finasteride (for my hair) – these can mask PSA levels. I was having regular 6 monthly blood tests. Almost 4 years later, my PSA had risen to 3.5. I still didn’t know what the test was for. The doctor said: ‘Shall I check your prostate?’ And he said that he didn’t particularly want to. So, it didn’t happen.
 
Six months later, my PSA was up. They examined my prostate. I was so shocked when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I thought ‘I am going to die.’ Maybe it hit me hard because it was cancer and, more so, a male cancer. I asked the nurse specialist about genital reconstructive surgery and she said: ‘Forget this trans nonsense and sort out your cancer first.’

 

I was so shocked when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I thought ‘I am going to die.’ Maybe it hit me hard because it was cancer and, more so, a male cancer.

 
When I was diagnosed, I was told that I would need to stop using oestrogen patches but when I was referred to a consultant, he said not to stop them. I suggested to the consultant that I have an orchidectomy instead of long-term testosterone suppression and he agreed.