Sally Payne

Sally Payne is a trans woman who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010. Here, she talks about her treatments.

My prostate cancer treatment was done in the usual way. For someone with a neo vagina it would be different. 
 
When I was first diagnosed, I had high dose-rate brachytherapy and external beam radiotherapy to treat my prostate cancer. One reason I chose the treatment is because I thought prostatectomy would cause more damage than radiotherapy and I was looking towards having genital reconstructive surgery. But I found out later that I wouldn’t be able to have the type of genital reconstructive surgery I wanted after my treatment because of the damage to the area caused by radiotherapy. I wish I had been told that sooner.
 
Being a trans woman with prostate cancer
 
I’ve been told by people, ‘What has trans got to do with it – prostate cancer is prostate cancer.’ I think in a way that is right, but there are also experiences that are different. For instance, I was told that my breasts might grow as a side effect of treatment, I was perfectly happy with that but most men would probably not be.
 
One piece of advice is to look at all the treatment options, work out the side effects, ask yourself how those would affect your life and how you would deal with those side effects before you make a choice. It’s sound advice for anyone, but you need to make sure that the info you’re reading takes into account the fact that you are trans. Had I known that I wouldn’t be able to have genital reconstructive surgery after my prostate cancer treatment, I may have given more consideration to other options. 

Had I known that I wouldn’t be able to have genital reconstructive surgery after my prostate cancer treatment, I may have given more consideration to other options.

 
Every time I have contact with medical care in relation to prostate cancer I am ‘outed’. When I pick up prescriptions of finasteride it says on the pack ‘for men only’ and I have ended up in an argument with the pharmacist. When I am sent for a PSA test, I am frequently told that I must have the wrong blood form. I accept this as it happens so often, but this might be difficult and trigger dysphoria for some trans women. However, all through my prostate cancer treatment I have been treated with great kindness and skill by all the hospital staff I have come into contact with.