Roger’s Story

Roger Graham shares his experience of prostate cancer

Diagnosis


Last year (2019) my PSA was 3.0

 

Earlier in March this year, I had a bad dose of coronavirus and was ill for 10 weeks. I made three visits to the Covid unit, at Watford General Hospital, but fortunately I was not admitted as I was breathing OK, although 106.7 degree temperatures every morning.

 

The Watford General Hospital medical team were fantastic. The heads of the respiratory teams called me most days. They gave me numerous scans, a CT scan, and blood tests (my PSA had increased to 5.9).

 

Because of another unrelated problem, they carried out a bronchoscopy, then recommended me to see a cardiothoracic specialist who carried out a PET scan. This revealed some activity in my prostate.

 

The coronavirus did NOT cause the prostate cancer, apparently it had been there for a while, but because of their thoroughness, it was finally found, and probably saved my life.

 

My utmost thanks to everyone at the Watford General Hospital.

Treatment decisions


I went to see a urologist. I then had a transperineal fusion biopsy, which revealed a Gleason score of 3+4. The aggressive cancer was 20%.

 

My urologist gave me various options, including radical prostatectomy and HIFU focal therapy and to see an oncologist.

 

I then did lots of research. I had a call from a professor who specialised in focal therapy, even she recommended that I should have the prostatectomy. I had already decided that is what I wanted anyway. I cancelled my appointment with the oncologist.

 

After discussing with family and friends, I was given two fantastic referrals to see a Professor Eden at London Bridge Hospital. He had carried out 3000 robotic procedures. I knew then that he was the surgeon that I needed. After meeting him, the operation date was made. He was to carry out a robotic prostatectomy and if possible with Retzius-sparing nerve therapy.

The Surgery


On Thursday 1st October at 10am, I went into Guys Cancer Hospital at London Bridge. At midday, I had an epidural, and general anaesthesia. I was back in my room after recovery at 7pm.

 

A short while after, I spoke with my surgeon, he confirmed that he did a Retzius nerve sparing procedure, and that my results were excellent, and that all my “male” functions should be fine, including no incontinence problems. Cancer all gone, I hoped! Obviously needed Pathology to confirm.

 

12 hours after I came back from recovery, I had no pain at all and hoped it would continue. I drank 4 big jugs of water, and thanks to the catheter, I didn’t even have to go to the bathroom.

 

I was home by Saturday, and out walking on Monday.

 

Whilst the pain was bad in the days following the operation, I was only taking paracetamol (I didn’t want to take anything stronger). It got a bit better each day but I could only sleep on my back.

 

I was surprised that the catheter hadn’t been such a problem as I thought it would be. It was removed after 10 days.

 

On the 30th October, I saw my specialist to discuss the Pathology report, he confirmed the excellent result. I am due to have a PSA test in six weeks, and again in three months, six months, and then one year. I’m absolutely ecstatic. I can’t praise or recommend him highly enough. Thanks Professor Chris Eden.

We’re glad that Roger received excellent care – but PCR are not associated with Professor Eden – and we want to thank all healthcare staff who have been caring for prostate cancer patients, especially in these challenging times.

If you have been affected by prostate cancer and would like to share your experiences, email patientvoice@pcr.org.uk or click here for more information.

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