Tony Ward's prostate cancer journey
In early 2012 I was diagnosed with an aggressive strain of prostate cancer. Advanced in so far as it had extended beyond the prostate and, it was no longer an option of a straight forward operation. Instead mine was a three-stage process consisting of the implementation of hormone implants (to kill testosterone which feeds the tumour), brachytherapy and then radiation.
I was fortunate, in so far as the cancer hadn't spread too far, but let there be no ambiguity here, it was no thanks to me. If I'm honest I will confess to having suspicions that something wasn't quite right with the waterworks for the best part of three, maybe even four, years beforehand. Did I do anything about it? No. Sure I'm a macho, rugby-playing indestructible male.
Very quickly the signs of something sinister going on surrounded a tendency to find myself seeking out a public convenience whenever in town on a mission, shopping or whatever. That and increasing visits to the loo during the night should have had alarm bells ringing. Whatever about the former, the latter I put down to either the natural ageing process, or else an over-consumption of liquid (not alcohol I might add) just ahead of bedtime. As for visiting the doctor? Yeah, yeah...next month and of course months turn into years.
I was one of the lucky ones who got there in time. The message I am trying to say to other men during this campaign, is that we need to take care of ourselves. Just take action and go to your GP if you experience any symptoms that are unusual. There is no need to be embarrassed, the doctor has seen and heard it all before.
It probably won’t be cancer. But if it is, the sooner you go to the doctor, the more treatment options will be available to you and the quicker you can go on to leading a full life after cancer.
- Tony Ward