When Mark Jordan found out he had prostate cancer he had a difficult decision to make about his treatment.
Mark Jordan was diagnosed with stage 1 prostate cancer in March 2016. He went to his doctor after noticing changes in his urine flow, and a PSA test and digital rectal exam spotted the cancer.
“It was a terrible shock despite the fact that two of my brothers had previously had prostate cancer, one four years older and the other five years younger than me,” he said.
As a retired physics and biology teacher, Mark had some knowledge of the treatment options for prostate cancer patients. But he was less aware of the side-effects many patients go through post-treatment.
“I had a good idea of what was ahead but I wanted to get the most up to date information on the treatment options out there.”
Active surveillance – where regular check-ups and tests are carried out in lieu of immediate treatment – was an option for Mark. But, given his family history of the disease, his rising PSA levels, the symptoms he was already experiencing and the fact his cancer didn’t appear to be localised, he opted for radical prostatectomy – surgery to remove his entire prostate gland and the cancer within it.
Post-surgery, Mark was cancer-free, but the initial side effects were, in his words, “upsetting and challenging”.
Mark suffered incontinence issues for the first few week. To overcome this, he had to retrain his muscles to stop the flow, a difficult process that required a determined change in habits over several weeks, so that “a bit like learning to ride a bicycle” the practice would eventually become second-nature to him. By eight weeks he was completely dry and back to normal.
Mark also took medication to tackle the signs of erectile dysfunction he encountered after his operation which has also proved successful.
Two years later he now enjoys a very active and fulfilled life with his wife in Dungarvan, Co Waterford.
His overriding message to those going through the disease is “there is life after prostate cancer”. He feels so strongly about this that he has published a website, www.prostatecancer.ie which outlines the stages he went through from diagnosis, through treatment to recovery.
Mark now hopes that everyone going through treatment weighs up the options available and in consultation with their doctor and partner decide which one is right for them.