Gary Brooks

Prostate cancer – ‘I’ve opened up to my friends because I don’t want them to have the same issue’

Gary Brooks is glad to literally be back in the swing of things with his recent and much-anticipated return to the golf course three months after having surgery to remove his prostate.

Originally from the UK, Gary had been looking forward to making the most of the renowned courses in his new home county of Clare when he was blindsided by a diagnosis of prostate cancer earlier this year.

The 64-year-old knew from a previous visit to the GP back in the UK that his prostate had become enlarged, and while there was no particular cause for concern at the time he was conscious to keep a watching brief.

Tests run by his new GP in Clare came back with some concerning results, and Gary’s diagnosis was eventually confirmed after follow-up examinations in hospital.

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I was told I had a fairly aggressive form of cancer. Thankfully it wasn’t in a big area, but they needed to act quickly.

He was given a choice of having surgery or chemotherapy to treat the disease. He opted for the surgery, and has been gradually recovering since.

Indeed, Gary’s own vigilance may have had a big impact on his outcome, as things could have been very different for him had the cancer been picked up any later.

“I was told that the cancer was still well contained within the prostate, but it was approaching the margins from where it can spread, so it looks like that didn’t happen thankfully,” he says.

Gary has started a blog both to write about his own journey through treatment and recovery, and to encourage men to be more open about their own health.

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I’ve found that the Irish can be even more private than the Brits, and I’ve opened up to my own friends because I want them to be aware and I don’t want them to have the same sort of issue.

Gary Brooks

"I would encourage others to talk to friends and family, and if you feel things aren’t quite right or normal go and get it checked.

“Some of the material I was given at the hospital was from the Irish Cancer Society and some of it was really detailed. What I found particularly valuable was some of the information around available treatments and side effects. That was of great benefit as I made my decision about my treatment.”

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