Prostate cancer - David's Story

David Wilson, felt fit and healthy so thought going for a check-up was just precautionary. However, following a routine health check with Dr Patel, at his local GP surgery [in Glanville Drive, Hornchurch], 58 year old David  Wilson discovered he had a high PSA (prostate specific antigen) level. PSA is a protein produced by both normal and cancerous prostate cells, and a high level of PSA can be a sign of cancer.

David and his partner Lyn Currie were both nervous and worried, and David was referred to consultant urologist, Mr Shiv Bhanot, at Spire Hartswood Hospital in Brentwood. Mr Bhanot pioneered the extra-peritoneal technique of laparoscopic – more commonly known as keyhole - prostatectomy in the UK, and has been treating patients with prostate cancer for 14 years.

Mr Bhanot, who also works at Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals NHS Trust, performed a biopsy which revealed a malignant tumour.  David, who was obviously extremely worried, explains: “You read about this sort of thing, but don’t ever think it’s going to happen to you. I felt healthy and fit, and didn’t think for one moment the health check would flag anything up.”

Mr Bhanot felt David was ideal for surgery, and he became the first patient at Spire Hartswood Hospital to undergo a radical laparoscopic prostatectomy in November 2008.  The operation took three hours and David went home three days later.

The keyhole prostatectomy technique treats prostate cancer in a kinder way than traditional open surgery, with a shorter hospital stay. In addition, recovery time is two or three weeks compared to up to three months after open radical prostatectomy.

David, who was a self-confessed lover of the bachelor-life, explains: “I’d always enjoyed good-health, and when something like this happens it makes you think about life more deeply. It made me think about my own mortality, and about what is important in life. It also brought home to me how much my partner Lyn meant to me.”

The day David received the phone call from Mr Bhanot’s office at Spire Hartswood that let him know his PSA was at a healthy level he made an instant decision. As soon as he was given the all-clear he turned around and, phone still in his hand, proposed to Lyn.

Essex florist, Lyn Currie, who runs “Lyn’s Petals” in Billericay, immediately said ‘yes’ to David and the wedding will take place in Brentwood in June this year

 Lyn says: “I was very surprised as this was really was out-of-the-blue. I tried my best to support David and help him through his operation and I guess that did bring us even closer together.”and she will now be preparing floral arrangements at her own wedding this summer thanks to the life-saving surgery her fiancé received at Spire Hartswood Hospital.

David is slowly getting back to normal. “I’m relieved to have had the operation and am excited about the life changes that lie ahead,” he explains, “I’m selling my home, arranging a wedding and planning on travelling more – starting with a trip to Fuerteventura this month, a little trip after the wedding in June, and a visit to Australia at the end of the year.

“Mr Bhanot and the team at Spire Hartswood have not only saved my life, they have changed the way I look at life, and I now see things in a different light.”

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