Profile: Mark, prostate cancer survivor
A lot of men are put off going to their doctor because of embarrassment and fear. They tend to neglect the early signs too - like difficulty or frequency urinating. Fortunately for me, I do not embarrass easily. Three years ago, aged 67, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It was a terrible shock despite the fact that two of my brothers had previously had prostate cancer.
I started having PSA tests done every 2 years from age 50. Towards the end of my 56th year my older brother was diagnosed with prostate cancer and from then on I had a PSA test annually. PSA is not a perfect test and it is important to be aware that high levels of PSA do not always indicate cancer.
Early in 2016 I had a check-up with a new doctor who routinely carried out the rectal exam in conjunction with a PSA test. He found a small nodule on my prostate. The presence of the nodule, as well as elevated PSAs, convinced my doctor and me that I should go have a biopsy. This revealed I had stage one prostate cancer.
Once I was diagnosed my main concern was to get rid of the cancer. I decided I would go ahead with treatment rather than opting for active surveillance. The treatment I choose was a robotic radical prostatectomy.
I wanted to be well informed before deciding which medical procedure was the best option for me. I carried out a lot of research weighing up the pros and cons with the help and support of my partner. I found excellent information on the www.cancer.ie website which was a good starting point. Making a decision is often hard to make on your own so talk to family, friends and men who have already undergone treatment.
As for many cancers, prostate cancer can be cured if diagnosed early. My message to men this November is don’t neglect your health.