Treatment:- Radical Robotic Surgery.
I had been having regular PSA tests for some years having initially visited my GP due to waking numerous times each night to visit the toilet. At the time nothing untoward was found other than an enlarged prostate with some atypical cells, but I was advised to continue with regular PSA tests to monitor progress . Following a 6 monthly PSA test in January 2014, which indicated marginally higher figures than my age of 67 years would indicate, my GP referred me to Broomfield Hospital once again for further investigation. An MRI scan in July indicated the presence of cancer which was confirmed following biopsy in August to be a T1 tumour with a Gleason Score of 3:3.
Due to staff shortage and the only Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse being on sick leave my first information on available treatments, other than that found on the internet, was gained during consultations with the Radiography Consultant followed immediately by the Consultant Surgeon, both of whom I felt were pushing their specialism. I was in fact asked at that time whether I had made up my mind as to my treatment preference without having had any booklets or other professional advice offered. It was mentioned that all options including Watchful Waiting were open to me and due to the fact that my cancer had been detected reasonably early I felt I had time to undertake further research, it was after this that I attended my first Walnut Club meeting hoping to talk to men about their experiences to aid my decision.
I had been told by the Radiotherapy Consultant that Brachytherapy was not suitable for me due to the size of my Prostate and following further research, both of the treatments available and the surgeons who may be undertaking the procedure, being happy with the technology I elected to undergo Radical Robotic Surgery out of area at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge under Mr Nimish Shah. Robotic surgery was not available in my local area. My initial consultation with a member of Mr Shahs team at Addenbrookes threw a spanner in the works when I was advised to go back and re-evaluate Radiotherapy, however following a further week of turmoil I decided to stand by my original request for Robotic Surgery.
My reason for this decision being that as all treatments appeared to have similar outcomes with regard to life expectancy the potential after effects if all went wrong came into play, Surgery could result in continued urine leakage, Radiography in diarrhoea. I had spoken to men with both outcomes. Being quite active, I had been hiking the Pembrokeshire coast two weeks before my Biopsy, I decided that if the worst came to the worst I could continue hiking with an external catheter and bag strapped to my leg but would struggle with the other.
Surgery in December 2014 apparently went well and I was discharged the day after my operation, unfortunately 36 hours after my return home I was admitted to Broomfield Hospital through A&E with an internal infection and spent a further 3 days in hospital.
I did have problems with leakage around the catheter but once this was removed I was totally dry overnight and using one number 2 pad per 24hrs. I did not think to do this until week 11 but at that point I started weighing my pads at the end of each day to monitor leakage. They say that 80 - 85% of men are dry at one year and on current progress I would expect to achieve this well before then, four months of improvement after my operation and my leakage is now averaging 10 – 20ml per day, (a lazy day 5ml), using a number 1 pad. Leakage does vary dependant on activity. I was back in the gym at 8 weeks and have not stopped any other outside activities. I do find that decaffeinated beverages make a big difference but can manage an occasional glass of beer or small glass of wine without catastrophic effect.
My cancer on removal was found to have progressed to T2a with a Gleason score of 3:4, retained within the prostate. PSA as you would expect is at 0.02. Erectile dysfunction is still present although I was told the nerves, which were still good, could take up to a year to recover. I do have some minor discomfort to my left groin area, the cause being unresolved at present, I have been told it could be nerve related following the operation.