Each year, over 37,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Early detection and ready access to diagnostic facilities are helping to increase survival rates, but better awareness is needed in order to encourage men to actively seek help. To this end, Spire Hartswood Hospital is supporting Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in March by urging men to seek help, rather than suffer in silence.
Ian, 60, from Billericay in Essex is newly retired and first found out he had a problem with his prostate when he had a BUPA Health and Wellbeing assessment. Ian explains: “I was coming up for retirement and decided it was time for a health check. As part of the assessment I had a rectal examination and that is when I was advised to have further tests.”
During Ian’s rectal examination a tiny lump was found and his GP arranged for him to have a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test. Ian continues: “I had two PSA tests that came back with different results. One showed a slightly raised PSA level and because of this it was recommended that I should have more investigations.”
Ian was referred to consultant urologist Mr Ramachandran Ravi at Spire Hartswood Hospital in Brentwood. Mr Ravi arranged for Ian to have a prostate biopsy which showed that Ian had prostate cancer. A subsequent MRI scan of the lump showed confirmed localised early stage prostate cancer.
“Mr Ravi was very factual and solution driven when he delivered the news. He didn’t dwell on the fact I had cancer he just told me I had it and that the next stage was to get it treated. For me this was the best possible approach. I didn’t want sympathetic looks and to dwell on what was wrong; I wanted to feel that I was in the hands of someone who was focussed entirely on getting me better. I felt confident in Mr Ravi straight away. He even arranged for my wife and I to talk to another prostate cancer patient who had been in a similar position and this really helped.”
Mr Ravi performed a nerve sparing laparoscopic radical prostatectomy to remove the cancerous tissues of the prostate in a minimally invasive way. The operation was planned to take place just after Christmas at Spire Hartswood Hospital. “I spent my first night after the operation in the high dependency unit. I was then moved to an en-suite room for two more nights and went home on New Year’s Day, three days after my operation”.
Just over two months since the surgery and Ian had his first check-up with Mr Ravi. He was given the all clear. “It is great news. I still have to have follow-up checks but we can now get on with our lives. My wife and I have planned a holiday and we can start to enjoy our retirement.”
“If I could offer advice to any man it would be to get yourself checked out. I had no symptoms so, without the health check and PSA tests, I would not have known that I had prostate cancer. But some men do get symptoms and ignore them and it isn’t worth taking the risk.”
Ian’s surgeon, Mr Ramachandran Ravi, consultant urologist at Spire Hartswood Hospital says “Like Ian, most patients with prostate cancer have no symptoms during the early stages and, conversely, most men with symptoms do not have prostate cancer. Urinary symptoms could indicate non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland which is very common, affecting more than half of all men over the age of 60. Alternatively, you may have symptoms related to bladder aging, a urine infection or another simple cause. It is very important to discuss your symptoms with a health professional”.