For those of you who are regular readers and have read the previous posts on Cancer, you can skip this first paragraph. I write this blog because knowledge is power and if you know what you are dealing with, you have more weapons in the locker to fight it. It is a personal view, I'm not medically qualified. This is for the sole purpose of information for those who are interested.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 54years 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 gave me a 3+3 on the Gleason scale. I was put 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, in 2013 my test was 4.0, Jan 2014 was 3.8, August 2014 was 4.0, February 2015 it was up to 5.5 and my latest in August 2015 was down again at 4.6. In October 2015 I had a transperinial Prostate biopsy, that revealed higher grade cancer and my Gleason score was raised to 3+4 (Small mass + more aggressive cancer). On 22nd Jan 2016 I had HIFU (Hi Intensity Focused Ultrasound) treatment at UCHL). My post procedure PSA in May was 4.0 which was down, followed by 3.7 in August, and 3.5 in October which means that the direction is positive . However in January the follow up MRI revealed "something unusual which requires investigation" After a follow up biopsy, it appeared this was nothing to worry about. My two most recent PSA tests were Ok (3.7 and 4.6) and an MRI scan in March was very positive. I've no symptoms apart from needing to wee quite regularly and sadly for a few people, if I'm gonna die soon, it won't be from Prostate cancer. Got the picture?
"So Rog, are you growing a Mo this year?". Most of my friends know of my run in with the big "C" and every year they ask the question. I am quite sure that if I did grow a Mo and ran a fundraising campaign, I'd raise a decent amount. Every year I feel ever more pressure to join in the fun. But sorry, I won't be growing a Mo or doing any fundraising. Not because I don't support the charities working to fight Prostate Cancer or because I don't want to raise awareness. If any of you are growing a Mo, I'll happily let you write a guest blog, plug your donation page and do anything else I can to help. But for me the issue of funding research and healthcare by charitable donations is something that appals me. I'm all for charities to fund steam raliways, football clubs, free dog grooming for pensioners dogs, etc. But healthcare related to one of the biggest killers in the UK? There is some things that our society should properly fund. If the charity was raising money for days out for the kids of those in terminal condition, then I'd say yes, that is a good use of charity. But I really disagree with the idea that the only way we can fix Prostate Cancer (or any of the other big killer diseases) is by having charity whip arounds. The concept that if I don't rattle a tin outside Tesco's then someone will die is something that is simply beyond the pale to me.
If others disagree then I respect that. We all react to such things in a different manner. My reaction to having Prostate Cancer has been to do my best to do what I personally can to publicise the things we can do to help ourselves. These things include getting a PSA test, encouraging people to get symptoms checked out immediately, making lifestyle changes to lessen the statistical risk of encouraging the disease to turn malignant. I drink green tea and pomegranite juice. I eat lots of cooked tomatoes, with pepper and tumeric. I don't do dairy. All of these things are statistically proven to be beneficial and increase your chances of survival. When I first found out, a book called "Anti Cancer - A new way of life" was recommended to me by my personal trainer at the gym. His girlfriend was fighting breast cancer. It was the best advice I have ever had.
This is by far the most helpful and inspiring cancer self help book I've ever read. I've recommended it to everyone I know who has suffered with cancer. Not everyone reads it, but I do feel that if I recommend it, then I've given the best support I can.
Another amazing book, a far more scientific tome is The Emperor of All Maladies - A biography of cancer.
This amazing book explains the history of cancer, what it is and why we get it. It is written by a cancer expert. It is not the easiest read, one where an A Level in biology was helpful. But it has helped me deal with my condition. It means I understand the terms when I discuss my treatment.
So good luck to all who are growing a Mo. It just isn't for me though. As I say, if we have a Mo grower who wants to guest blog, get in touch.