I retired from my aviation career in 2009. One part of my ongoing medical monitoring had included an annual PSA test. Results were always on the high side of normal but normal nonetheless. After my first post retirement medical I learned that my PSA had increased at a higher rate than in the past and my Doctor arranged for me to see a urologist. Subsequent investigation led to a biopsy and a diagnosis of prostate cancer. The biopsy results specifically showed cancer cells in 3 of the 10 cores and a Gleason score of between 6 and 7.
I now switch from “I” to “we” as my wife and I met with the urologist who detailed the diagnosis and asked what we would like to do in terms of treatment. This was surprising to us thinking that a doctor, when he/she discovers what is wrong will then tell you how to fix it. This process, in particular asking what treatment we would choose, was a significant departure from our expectations and a unique feature of the prostate cancer experience. There are many treatment options, confusing at times, and the course chosen depends on so many factors such as diagnosis specifics, patient health, history, weight, age and yes even preference.
My urologist reassured us that immediate action was not critical and so we had time to investigate. What a tremendous resource was the Prostate Cancer Centre (PCC)! We visited the resource library and met with a number of the volunteers who had been themselves down the same road. We learned through their own experiences and from pouring through the large quantity of resource literature on hand. A great benefit too was the recommended online material.
As it turned out both our urologist and the radiation oncologist to whom we were referred recommended surgery, so based upon that and on our own research we scheduled the da Vinci laparoscopic robotic surgery. The process was probably as non-invasive as surgery can be. After 3 nights in the hospital and 10 days afterward with the catheter, I recovered with minimal effects and was water-skiing 10 weeks post surgery.
Subsequent to surgery I learned of the PCC’s ManVan program which has brought awareness and actual PSA testing to thousands who might not otherwise have considered the blood test. I had been so impressed with what the Prostate Cancer Centre offers to those involved with this disease that I wanted to become a part of their volunteer pool. I initially started in the Resource Centre then transitioned into the ManVan program where I now enjoy the privilege of bringing testing and awareness to hundreds of men.