Dawn’s Prostate Cancer Journey

As a phlebotomist I knew the dangers of prostate cancer, I suggested to my husband that he should have a PSA test as he was having a ‘well-man’ check. There were no symptoms of prostate cancer and men tend not to know much about prostate cancer and are not offered routine testing.

When we got the diagnosis it was terrible, the news was just devastating and the outlooks from the treatments offered by the NHS were just bleak. I remember my husband saying he would rather die than end up with double incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

I didn’t seek any counselling support for myself but once my partner started his proton therapy treatment I felt relief for the first time in a while. He was relieved also to find an answer he had been looking for as well as giving us our life back.

From the start of the proton journey I felt my partner was in the best care by the best professionals possible, I can’t thank them enough. They provided us with everything we needed and instantly we knew we had made the right decision with Proton therapy.

I would definitely recommend them, the whole experience was all positive with everything to gain; they gave me back my husband.

Disclaimer: This patient is happy to share their story but would like to protect their identity.

William’s Prostate Cancer Story

‘Just in case’, that’s the only reason I found out about my prostate cancer, I had no symptoms for it whatsoever just some muscular problems, but my doctor tested me as a precaution, it was lucky he did.

My initial reaction was utterly shocked and angry that I had not been briefed about prostate cancer and the treatments previously. After the diagnosis me and my wife felt anxious and stressed, I hid the information from my children for two years but eventually they found out and became concerned, despite feeling scared myself I played the whole thing down to avoid them getting worried.

I personally felt information was not delivered to me properly by my GP, I was then referred to the urologist to carry out tests such as: blood tests, MRI Scan, CAT scan, and a biopsy. Once the tests had been completed the treatments on offer to me were: surgery, active surveillance, radiotherapy. They personally came to the conclusion that the most appropriate treatment for me would be surgery with a 3-4week waiting time; they explained the surgery would be done in a day but didn’t give me an exact recovery time.

I began seeking alternative treatments after two long years of active surveillance and exploring many different treatments within the U.K, including clinical trials. The main motivation for looking elsewhere was the 50/50 chance the NHS was offering me of developing long-term side-effects such as incontinence and impotence. From my angle although it would be nice for it to be free in the U.K and to receive aftercare here, I believe quality of life is much more important.

The NHS is overloaded and slightly unreliable, I had conflicting reports following MRI scans regarding the size of my tumour. The whole message they conveyed for treatment was very negative, basically saying every treatment gives you life changing side-effects, not much of a push to get treated.

The treatments that don’t offer side-effects are not even discussed or suggested by the NHS, each consultant I saw discussed two different types of treatments which were essentially the treatments they specialised in, any other type of treatments I had to research myself.

During research I came across the Proton Therapy website, it immediately looked like a positive ‘can do’ professional approach with a reduction in side effects. I began the treatment and received 5 fractions and I have to say, I recommend Proton Therapy for all men as it offers the best opportunity to treat prostate cancer so you can carry on with your lives. Since the treatment my health is good and I’m awaiting my first post treatment test. Although it’s early days I feel positive.

Disclaimer: This patient is happy to share their story but would like to protect their identity.

Humphrey’s Prostate Cancer Story

Getting up to urinate 2-3 times a night became a real annoyance, so I went to the GP who referred me to the urologist for tests- but nothing could have prepared me for the diagnosis of prostate cancer. I felt numb, couldn’t concentrate and felt anxious all the time, my family didn’t take the news well either they became concerned and stressed also.

The options for treatment were only partially explained to me through the NHS, the options recommended for me were:

  • Surgery
  • Radiotherapy
  • Brachytherapy

Radiotherapy was apparently my best option and would have lasted 7.5weeks after 3months of hormone treatments. I started to research alternative forms of treatments due to the high risk of side-effects associated with these treatments and yet I feel the side-effect subject wasn’t explained well during the NHS process.

I heard about proton therapy from a letter in the national press from a patient, I noticed immediately the reduced risk of side-effects and the shorter treatment time. I decided to go ahead with proton therapy and received 21 fractions of treatment but was also put on hormones, the hormones gave me hot flushes but apart from that, no other side-effects especially from the proton therapy itself.

Treatment exceeded expectations for me, the centre was so clean with reliable equipment and the staff were marvellous. I didn’t feel too ill from the treatment and managed to go out and explore the city of Prague.

I am still on hormone treatment but my future now looks positive, once the hormone therapy ends I’ll be back to being healthy like I was before Prostate cancer.

Disclaimer: This patient is happy to share their story but would like to protect their identity.

Michael’s Prostate Cancer Story

Devastated, that’s how I felt when I was told I had Prostate cancer. I originally went to GP as I woke frequently in the night needing to urinate; I never expected it to be serious though.

I was referred to the urologist who monitored my PSA reading, it wasn’t until my PSA score steadily increased to 14.6 that I got offered treatment. This was following my insistence that something needed to be done, but the NHS said no treatment was recommended for me; in the end they finally gave me the option of having a prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) and radiotherapy.

With these two treatments they both carried a high possibility of side effects including incontinence and erectile dysfunction. As a result of these side-effects I began looking around for other treatments and that’s when I came across Proton therapy.

Even though I was to have 21 fractions the whole process was speedy and efficient and it exceeded my expectations. I found the staff incredibly caring and friendly and the best part of it all was no side-effects. However I did get some side-effects from the hormone treatment which gave me breast enlargement and tenderness.

I would 100% recommend proton therapy; it’s up to date with much less risk of damage to other organs and it has left me feeling optimistic about my future.

Disclaimer: This patient is happy to share their story but would like to protect their identity.

Richard’s Prostate Cancer Story

Being told you have prostate cancer when you’ve had no symptoms what-so-ever is terrifying; I was very shocked as I didn’t realise there was anything wrong with me. It didn’t just affect me, my family had to go through it all with as well and I knew they were very worried.

The available treatments in the UK weren’t explained all that well, in the end it was recommended that I underwent the Robotic radical prostatectomy with a 3-4 week wait before I got the operation. Following a consultation with my specialist I decided to research alternative forms of treatment as I didn’t like the side-effects of conventional treatments.

I did mention proton therapy to my specialist but they said it wouldn’t work for prostate cancer, however this didn’t stop me researching it online. I soon realised it had very little side-effects and all the feedback was positive, whereas with the NHS I felt like all the treatments were a negative. Since treatment I have realised how many positives Proton therapy has and I now still have my sex life intact and my bowels and bladder are in good working order also.

My treatment lasted 5 fractions and the team at the Proton therapy centre were just brilliant, there were some short-term side effects such as: Feeling sick at the first stages of treatment which was about as bad as it got and about 2 weeks after my treatment I experienced what felt like constipation- but I did manage to open my bowels eventually, I just had to be patient. However now I’m a little the other way and have to go straight to the toilet when the need arises, Ejaculation is very quick in the morning but that’s not really a problem.

I would recommend Proton therapy to anyone that found themselves with the same diagnosis; I have all the same bodily functions as I did before the treatment, which would not be the case with what was offered by the NHS.

Disclaimer: This patient is happy to share their story but would like to protect their identity.

Robert’s Prostate Cancer Story

After investigations for low testosterone, I was shocked to learn that I had prostate cancer, my family were incredibly worried about me and I quickly became anxious and stressed.

My GP referred me to the urologist who began doing tests to understand the extent of the cancer, I was then recommended for radiotherapy treatment and to monitor my PSA levels. But by this point I had already decided on proton beam therapy so I automatically declined radiotherapy.

I turned down NHS treatment as I became worried about the side-effects of standard radiotherapy which is why proton therapy appealed to me. With the lack of side-effects I knew it would be a better treatment for me. It lasted 5 fractions and exceeded my expectations, from start to finish the treatment was very professional and the team of people treating me were excellent.

Proton therapy did cause some short-term side-effects such as tiredness and a urinary tract infection, however my health now is very good and my PSA 12 weeks after treatment went from 6.1 to 0.94. I would recommend proton therapy for any male deciding on treatment for prostate cancer.

I now look at my future and it looks very positive.

Disclaimer: This patient is happy to share their story but would like to protect their identity.

Thomas’ Prostate Cancer Story

My symptoms for prostate cancer came all at once, I had to be taken to hospital as I couldn’t urinate but the diagnosis was very concerning for me. I suddenly found it very hard to sleep and concentrate, it didn’t help that I felt I wasn’t give enough information about all the treatments available.

The NHS offered me hormone therapy then subsequently radiotherapy; the hormone therapy began rather quickly but I was put off the radiotherapy due to its side effects so I started researching other treatments.

I came across proton therapy online and it indicated that the side-effects would be greatly reduced so I decided to go ahead with it. My treatment lasted 21 fractions and I found the Proton Centre to be very professional, caring and I was attended to promptly each time I attended the clinic, which would have been different with the NHS.

During the treatment I did experience a slight looseness of the bowels at times, but overall I thought the treatment was excellent with a high standard of professionalism and care in place that made me feel at ease during the whole process.

My health at the minute is fine and I feel like I’m back to normal- when I look at my future it looks very positive.

Disclaimer: This patient is happy to share their story but would like to protect their identity.

Andrew’s Prostate Cancer Story

My diagnosis left me feeling stressed and anxious, I didn’t have any symptoms for prostate cancer other than a high PSA reading, at first I didn’t believe it, I was worried and unsure about my options and my future wellbeing. I agreed on ‘watchful waiting’ but as my PSA readings increased I became a lot more irritable.

I was recommended the prostatectomy- removal of the prostate, but I didn’t want the treatment it would have been a 2month wait and the side-effects weren’t the slightest bit appealing. During the wait for the operation my wife started looking at other options online, I tried herbal and vitamin D supplements at my wife’s request, we then looked into ultrasound treatment and then proton therapy.

We decided proton therapy was the best option for me as I wanted quality of life, this didn’t seem possible following-on from surgery as it was the non-nerve sparing prostatectomy that was proposed.

The information given by the NHS was very limited, they discussed what they wanted me to have and not all the options; I also received very little information about post-treatment. Proton therapy appealed to me as it was non-invasive and had little side-effects.

My treatment lasted 21 fractions, being away from home was lonely and during my treatment I got kidney stones which created more unwanted stress. Before my treatment started I needed hormone therapy which caused a delay in being treated. Hormone therapy drove me a little mad, I was almost a woman going through menopause; I became bad tempered, emotional, crying for no reason and just generally unreasonable, no-one mentioned these side-effects. The proton beam therapy also had a couple of side-effects for me, it left me with painful legs from the hip down to the knee and I also have a form of IBS which came on 2months ago.

Although I had some side-effects I’d still recommend it as it’s non-invasive, in my opinion the body has lots of parts which work together, removal of one part disturbs the whole balance of the body. One day I think there will be holistic treatments instead of departments that deal with selected parts of the body.

When I think about my future now, I’m still a little uncertain about the side-effects but mostly positive.

Disclaimer: This patient is happy to share their story but would like to protect their identity.

Joe’s Prostate Cancer Story

After having Proton Therapy I didn’t come across any side-effects and my PSA level now indicates that I’m on the road to recovery, side-effect free. My treatment took five fractions and I have to say, the Proton Therapy Center exceeded my expectations and my health is now stable. Since having the therapy there’s nothing I can’t do now that I could before the surgery, I do have increased urination at night but I feel like this whole ‘episode’ was just a glitch in my life and I would highly recommend the Proton Therapy Center.

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer after having a routine PSA test; my initial reaction was that this could happen to anybody. At the time I realised that I have a wonderful and fulfilling life so I remained optimistic that it would continue.

Although I had been told that I had cancer I actually felt OK as I believed there’s help, the NHS referred me to the urologist where blood tests, MRI scan, colonoscopy and a biopsy was undertaken to determine the extent of the cancer.

Once the initial tests and diagnoses were completed I was then offered active surveillance with a wide-range of treatments to follow on from this once the cancer progressed, the treatments offered to me on the NHS were:

  • Active Surveillance Surgery
  • Radical prostatectomy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Permanent seed brachytherapy
  • External beam radiotherapy

The consultant personally recommended for me external beam radiotherapy which would last two months but I was hoping the active surveillance would be sufficient so at the time I didn’t seek alternative treatments from other sources.

When I started to look at the possible side-effects from the conventional treatments and the fact treatments may have to be repeated, I started looking at alternative treatments and came across Proton Therapy in a Prague daily newspaper.

It appealed to me immediately for many reasons such as:

  • Minimal side-effects
  • Easy access to the Proton Therapy Center
  • The state of the art equipment
  • Short treatment time
  • All of the professional and caring staff through-out the process