Man, 64, wouldnt have known he had prostate cancer if it wasnt for one thing
Prostate cancer symptoms shared by doctor on BBC Morning Live
The 64-year-old from Glasgow said he never had any symptoms of prostate cancer before he was diagnosed with it.
“I wouldn’t have known I had it,” he said, “I had no symptoms at all.”
Typically, people with prostate cancer don’t develop any symptoms until they’re at stage three or four. By then, the disease becomes more difficult to treat successfully.
David only received his diagnosis because he was doing a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test from Medichecks every year – the reason being he wanted to keep an eye on his levels as his father had prostate cancer.
PSA levels increase gradually with age, but David said his increased dramatically – more than doubled – over the period of a couple of years.
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He said: “The message from the Medichecks doctors came firm and clear – go and speak to your GP.”
It was early 2022 when David went to the GP and did all of the necessary tests. His results meant he was sent for his first hospital appointment.
He explained: “My MRI showed three or four areas on the one side of my prostate where there was an issue, so I had a biopsy a few weeks later.
“On the 14th of September 2022, aged 63, I attended an appointment for the results and the specialist urology nurse confirmed I had stage two prostate cancer.”
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David said the GPs saw him as someone looking after their health rather than somebody who’s drinking every day and doing unhealthy things – at risk of disease.
He added: “The support and compassion I’ve been shown from the service but also from friends and family has been much appreciated.”
After his diagnosis, David researched different treatment options and decided surgery would give him the best result and function going forward.
He said: “On the 18th of April 2023 I went for robot-assisted prostate removal – a procedure that entails a 24-hour stay in hospital. The idea of the robot is that the surgeon guides it, and it doesn’t do as much damage to the surrounding areas. I think it also helped to prevent any infections.
“You have to wait about ten weeks to get your bloods checked by the NHS after prostate removal, but I just couldn’t wait that long, so I did another Medichecks test after the six week mark to find out sooner – my baseline was 0. It was such a fantastic result, and accompanied by the good comments that came back from the doctors, I felt so encouraged.”
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A couple of weeks later David had his NHS blood test results, and after a few check-ups was officially given the all-clear.
In hindsight, David said he should have been more switched on to the potential indicators that something was amiss.
“For example,” he said, “the need to get up during the night when I previously hadn’t. And I’d also ignored a bit of back pain which is why I’d gone to see the doctor. Fortunately, in my case, because I’d been monitoring my PSA, we caught the cancer before it spread outside the prostate, which made it far easier to tackle.
“There are lots of things I wish I’d known before the treatment – mainly to do with the process and the likely after-effects of surgery. What I did find is that there is fantastic information and support available through Prostate Cancer UK.”
Because prostate cancer usually develops slowly and may not show signs for many years. Being aware of risk factors is important.
The NHS says the chances of developing prostate cancer increase as you get older, with most cases developing in men aged 50 or older.
Prostate cancer also tends to be more common in black men and less common in Asian men.
Also men whose father or brother were affected by prostate cancer are at slightly increased risk themselves.
David said: “I want to strongly recommend to all men, particularly those over 50 with a family history of prostate problems, to get checked. Something as simple and painless as a finger prick test can change your life.
“There’s currently no screening service available for prostate cancer on the NHS, so it’s really important to proactively look after your health, don’t just wait for the glaring signs when it’s too late.
“If you’re worried and you go to the GP for tests, try not to let pride or embarrassment get in the way. Some of the tests are personal and a little uncomfortable, but they need to be done – they’re quick and painless.
“Without a simple finger prick blood test I wouldn’t have known about my cancer and it might have been 10 years later when I’d found out, at stage four, with something like a few months to live. I probably owe Medichecks my life – it’s as simple as that.”
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