My story really starts back in 2003 when during a routine health check, the doctor indicated that my PSA was a little high at 2.9 and suggested that I keep an eye on it which I did not - I was then aged 55.
Following another medical in 2007, my PSA had risen to 4.1 and my GP being on the ball referred me to a urologist who examined my prostate and said it was normal and that as my PSA was not that high to keep an eye on it. Also said that as I was approaching 60, the PSA was OK for my age.
I next had a PSA test in 2008-9 when my PSA was found to be 6.2 so a biopsy was called for which found cancer on the Gleason scale of 3+3 present in some of the samples and some 3+4 present in one small area. The urologist, being a surgeon suggested that the prostate be removed to reduce the risk going forward.
Having heard of the side effects, I looked around at alternatives which included both Brachy and HIFU. In communication with one of your mentors - I am looking at HIFU - will send full blog in due course.
I established that the best HIFU practitioner in the UK was Mr (now Prof.) Mark Emberton so approached him and straight away he put me at my ease. Following further MRI scans he confirmed that the area giving the high reading - the 3+4 was confined to the front left lobe so focal HIFU on that area would solve the issue.
I am having HIFU treatment that this coming Friday [September 10, 2010] - scary...!
The operation was carried out at 6pm following which I recovered with little pain at 7.30 pm had a three course meal at 8.30 pm and went home at 10.00 pm. The only sign that I had an operation was the suprapubic catheter which remained in place for three days and was then removed by the district nurse.
My subsequent MRI confirmed that the area had been correctly zapped by the HIFU and my three month PSA was 0.90 and six monthly 0.70. I have absolutely no side effects from the operation and lead a normal life playing golf and hill walking. I therefore feel blessed that I made the right choice.
In the UK, HIFU is still classed as experimental so only available privately so need to have private health insurance as the overall cost is some £20,000. Following my recent review by Prof Emberton he wrote to my GP stating that the results were "fantastic" and whilst not saying that I was cured, he nevertheless indicated that I should not have problems in the foreseeable future but will still keep an eye on me.
Against the background of my prostate cancer last year, my wife sadly, and out of the blue, developed bladder cancer and despite valiant attempts to save her, she sadly died in March this year.
So, therefore mixed blessings.
It is now two years since my HIFU operation and whilst my PSA has moved around a little from 0.70 to 1.5, I have absolutely no side effects and in all respects lead a normal and active life.
I am due to have a further MRI scan at the end of September and a follow up visit to Professor Emberton in early October. At the moment I have no fears regarding this as I feel perfectly fine.
I will of course update following my next appointment.
Following my last update, I have undergone a further MRI ahead of a meeting with Prof Mark Emberton at the end of 2012. Having reviewed the results, Prof Emberton indicated that the cancer is no longer evident and whilst there were one or two points of interest which will be kept under review, there is nothing that caused him concern.
Its three years since my operation and over two and a half years since the loss of my dear wife to cancer. I am now in a new relationship which as many of you who have suffered from prostate cancer are aware is trepidatious. I need not have worried as everything is in full working order so to speak and the operation has had no affect on either my bladder function or my libido. I am therefore extremely fortunate and count my blessings for choosing the right treatment for me.
Well a year on and my PSA remains low at 1.7 and I feel great having walked the length of Hadrians Wall a couple of months ago so fitness levels continue to improve - pity about the golf though!
The new relationship continues and Rosemary and I now live together in what can only be described as a fantastic fulfilling relationship and she being a widow herself, fully understands. There continue to be no side effects to the HIFU with everything in working order with the occasional "turbo boost" of Cialis (recommended by the Prof) which owes more to my age rather than my operation.
I will be seeing the good Professor in a month or so for my annual check up and MRI but am not at all fearful.
Well it's now five years (September 2010) since HIFU with Professor Mark Emberton in London and I feel fine.
My latest PSA was 1.9 and the MRI scan showed no evidence of the return of the cancer, indeed, the readings showed no change since last year. Prof Emberton indicated that there was now no need to see him every year so unless there is a dramatic change in PSA levels, then there is no need for him to see me until 2017 which is fantastic.
On a personal level, I bless the day that I made the decision not to have surgery or Brachy all of which were being given as the "right" course of action for me. Fortunately, the location of the cancer made me an ideal candidate for HIFU and I am so glad that I made the choice. I am fully continent have no side effects no leakage, no frequent night time bladder calls, and with my new partner, have a fulfilling physical relationship. So, I consider myself a very lucky man indeed. I am now fully retired at the age of 67 and enjoying life to the full including mixing lots of cement by hand and laying a patio at our new home.
I would say to any man in my situation should look around for alternatives and then choose the best solution for you. By all means listen to the professionals but make your own treatment choice.
It's now almost 6 years since I had HIFU and I am hoping that this nightmare is almost over. My PSA has reduced to 1.6 and remains fairly constant. Professor Emberton has indicated that I can probably take a break from MRI this year and has no concerns . Having retired I am (for my age!) in good health and continue to lead a fulfilled life in all respects with my new partner. So I suppose what I am trying to say is get checked early get the right treatment by which I mean the one that is right for you and hopefully you can beat this dreadful disease. Good luck.
David's e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org