This is my cancer story. I'm 69 and living in Qld Australia.
In late August my GP informed me that my PSA had moved from 2 to 4. For a 69 year old the number
itself was not alarming but he said that the doubling of my PSA in 2 years was of concern so he recommended another PSA test in 6 weeks time. He said that having sex or riding a bike before
the blood test could elevate the PSA reading.
6 weeks later the second readings came through which confirmed that my PSA was 4. The GP then
said that he would refer me to a urologist. He said that without symptoms and with a PSA of 4 that I would have to be very unlucky for anything serious to transpire post the urologist's check up.
I asked my cardiologist and gastro specialist for recommendations and they both mentioned my current urologist whom I'm very pleased with.
My first check by the urologist involved the review of my PSA data and a DRE. This digital examination revealed no abnormality and the urologist said that I had 2 alternatives:
-watchful waiting (to wait 4 months or so and repeat the PSA test)
-have an MRI scan if I was a worrier.
I elected to have the MRI scan because I am a worrier. The scan cost $500 and is not
covered by Medicare or my Private Health Insurance.
While I awaited the results I was quite confident that nothing much was wrong. After all I did not have
any problem passing urine, just the usual trip to the bathroom at night if I had drunk water,
tea etc before going to bed. Nor did I have any pain whatsoever.
By now its early October 2014. The urologist called me and asked me to attend his office for a review of the MRI scan. This was my first inkling that I might have cancer and the weeks wait was nerve wracking to say the least.
The urologist said that the MRI scan indicated a shadow in the left hemisphere of my prostate which
clouded one thirtieth of the hemisphere; that is one sixtieth of the entire organ. He said that a biopsy
was the only way to confirm if it is cancer and, if so, what stage and what Gleeson Score.
This was all new language to me and, being a worrier, it started feelings of panic and dread.
The biopsy was a day procedure under general anaesthetic. Needles are inserted in the prostate
via the rectum and minature core samples are extracted for lab analysis. There was minor signs
of blood in my urine for 2 or 3 days. The procedure was virtually painless.
The urologist called again and he said that he would like to explain the rsults of the biopsy the following day.
I guess that even for an experienced urologist it is not easy to break the news to a patient that he has
prostate cancer with a tumour stage of T3A and a Gleeson Score of 9 (4+5), which is my diagnosis. I sat stunned, like a roo in the headlights.
I'll follow up in a days time with the impact of the diagnosis on me, my wife and friends; together with the treatment plan and prognosis.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.