A Member's Experiences of Radiotherapy



My prostate problems started in 2000 – this was due to flow problems initially. Tests and consultations concluded that Endoscopic Resection of Prostate (T.U.R.P) was required. This took place at Springfield Hospital in November 2001.


Recovery was good and nothing ‘sinister’ found on this occasion.


Some years later – 2008 – a routine PSA check found that the reading was 27 with a Gleason Factor of 7. Blood tests, scans (including a bone scan) and further appointments confirmed that there was cancer in the prostate and the soft tissue surrounding the prostate…..informed in December 2008. During this discussion options, for treatment, were explained by the Consultant (Mr McAllister) in an informative and courteous manner. This included the known life expectancy statistics against each option.


In January 2009 an appointment was made with the Oncologist to discuss appropriate therapy. Treatments recommended were hormone therapy and radiotherapy. Hormone therapy was by the injection of a pellet in the stomach area, monthly, done at our local GP surgery. Radiotherapy planning, which included CT scan, blood tests, marking ‘tattoos’ and being put on a simulator. This all took place at Colchester General Hospital in April and May 2009. Treatment, at Colchester Hospital, Lexden Road started in May 2009 – consisted of 37 treatments – one each working day of the week……this concluded on 8th July 2009 (coincidentally my 37th wedding anniversary after 37 treatments..!!)


The side effect of this treatment was bladder incontinence. This became worse as time went on. Incontinence clinic appointments followed and advice was to use pads or bags. At its worst the use of 9 pads per day!


Hormone treatment ceased March 2012 PSA reading 0.04……a three year treatment plan.


While attending the Prostate Cancer Support Group the issues surrounding side effects of treatment was raised by the visiting speaker. When speaking of my incontinence – assurance was given that treatments were available. I was referred to attend Mr Garaffa’s clinic in Urology, Broomfield Hospital. This took place in July 2012. Mr Garaffa spoke of a procedure for implanting an artificial urinary sphincter which would allow for the ‘management of the bladder’.


Circumcision was required beforehand and the surgery for this took place August 2012 – at the same time there was correction of the uretha and cystoscopy.


The surgery to implant the artificial urinary sphincter took place in November 2012. While the operating process took a little time for me to get used to, the difference it has made to my life is enormous - allowing me to play tennis, bowls and travel extensively. The use of 2 pads a day is merely for protection and confidence purposes. My most recent appointment, with Mr Garaffa, was December 2013 and I have been discharged from his clinic.