The revelation that West End theatre impresario, Lord Lloyd-Webber is being treated for prostate cancer is likely to raise awareness of the disease among Essex men. Lloyd-Webber, age 61, is one of approximately 35,000* men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the UK and the risk increases with age. Improved diagnostic methods mean that doctors are now able to diagnose this disease at an early and often curable stage.
Mr Shiv Bhanot, consultant urologist at Spire Hartswood Hospital in Brentwood has been treating prostate cancer for 14 years. He is one of the pioneers of the laparoscopic prostatectomy operation to remove the prostate gland using keyhole surgery. Patients whose cancer is completely removed after surgery are unlikely to require further treatment.
Treatment options depend on a range of factors including whether or not the cancer has spread outside the prostate. Treatment may include surgery, radiotherapy and active surveillance - often known as ‘watchful waiting’.
Mr Bhanot explains: “The keyhole prostatectomy technique treats prostate cancer in a kinder way than traditional open surgery resulting in a shorter hospital stay. Also, recovery from the operation is generally two or three weeks compared to up to three months after open radical surgery.”
Brentwood resident Leonard Simpson, aged 57, was diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year. Len chose to have laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery by Mr Bhanot at Spire Hartswood Hospital and has since made an excellent recovery. “It is very clichéd to mention getting help and not putting it off, but this is really the main piece of advice that I can offer,” says Len. “I can appreciate that it is a nerve wracking time when you feel that something is wrong, and it is often a matter of pride. However, it is important not to be nervous and to have anything untoward checked and tested.”
Mr Bhanot concludes: “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK. The PSA count is widely known to detect prostate cancer, but other new technologies used at Spire Hartswood such as ultrasound (TRUS) guided biopsies, PCA3 gene testing and free-PSA testing work together to provide a good indicator to help us fight this disease.”
* The Prostate Cancer Charity, Feb 2008