Andy Cutler was 49 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009. The doctors advised him that it needed to be treated, but he, and his children, had already had a difficult year. He didn’t want his diagnosis, or treatment, to put additional strain on them, so focal therapy seemed like his best option.
“When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, my life was already in turmoil. I’d separated from my wife the year before, and I didn’t want being diagnosed with prostate cancer to impact on my kids – then 16, 15 and 12 – or me, any more than it had to.
I wanted to be able to tell the kids that it was a quick, one night in and out job, and that I’d be back on my feet in no time. But radiotherapy would have meant lots of trips to hospital, and I think a prostatectomy would also have involved a longer hospital stay.
I also really didn’t like the sound of the side effects associated with surgery or radiotherapy. At 49 years old, a 50 per cent chance of long term incontinence and erectile dysfunction just didn’t feel like an option to me.
If I hadn’t found out about HIFU, I don’t know what I would have done. Even though I was told my cancer definitely needed treatment, I still might not have done it.
After the HIFU, I didn’t have any incontinence problems at all, and after that first couple of months, I was totally back to normal. I did have erection problems for around 9-10 months after the treatment. It was upsetting at the time, because I’d just met someone, and could only be prescribed two Viagra tablets a month, but luckily, after the first nine months, I was completely back to normal.
I see my urologist regularly, and in September 2016 I had another biopsy. They found a very small number of cancerous cells, but nothing bad enough to need any further treatment. They said they’d just keep an eye on it, and to be honest, I don’t really think about it now.
I go for a check-up every year, but otherwise, my prostate cancer doesn’t affect me at all anymore. I’m just getting on with my life now.