Monday, 16 September 2013

Rog T's Cancer Blog - Any chance of a Guest Blog from Billy Connolly about Prostate Cancer?

For those of you who are regular readers and have read the previous posts on Cancer, you can skip this first paragraph.This is the latest installment in my occasional series about how I'm adjusting to living with a big C in my life.  For those of you who aren't, here's a quick summary. I'm 51 years old and in October 2011 I  had a prostate biopsy following two "slightly high" PSA tests - 2.8 & 4.1. The biopsy took ten tissue samples and one of these showed a "low grade cancer" which gives me a 3+3 on the Gleason scale. I'm now on a program of active monitoring.  In early February, I got the results of the a PSA test - down to 3.5 and an MRI scan which found absolutely nothing, two more tests in 2012 were at 3.5 and 3.9. My latest PSA test in August was not quite so promising,  back up to 4.0, in other words the downward trend has stopped. I've no symptoms and sadly for a few people, if I'm gonna die soon, it won't be from Prostate cancer. Got the picture? 

I was just listening to BBC London and it has been announced that Billy Connolly has had surgery for Prostate Cancer. As I sit here recovering from (and suffering the after effects of) a prostate biopsy, I have every sympathy for him. In my house,. my decision to write about my experiences has provoked some heated discussions. My wife believes that we should "not talk about such things in public". Interestingly, Billy Connolly seems to share my views on the subject. Here is his description of a prostate examination

ITN news are reporting that the surgery has been a "total success" - -  although given the nature of cancer, I'd personally think you can only say this months after if your PSA is still low. I was interested to read that he has "very early stage" prostate cancer. This is what I have. The advice I received was that a program of active surveillence (ie regular PSA tests and annual biopsies) is the way forward until such time as there is some sort of movement.

I am intrigued to find out what procedure Connolly has had. Is there a new, low risk treatment being used in the states. The reason for the active surveillance regime is the side effects of surgery can be devastating with incontinence, impotence and infertility being not identified as relatively common side effects. By identifying the problem and taking action early, Billy Connolly has clearly been sensible. I hope that he uses the opportunity to encourage other men to get a PSA test. This can identify risks early and allow treatment before the situation becomes life threatening. We'd be more than happy to invite Billy Connolly to submit a guest blog when he's feeling better. I believe we fight cancer best as a community and we should use the tools at hand to identify the condition early. If you are 50 or over and haven't had a PSA test, please consider asking your doctor to be tested. Sadly the graveyards are full of people who ignored the signs. Don't join them unnecessarily early.

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