Policeman pens Prostate Cancer letter
Nov 02, 2016
- written by Senior Constable Steve Lindsey, Greenslopes Private Hospital patient
My story starts 26 years ago when my father died of advanced prostate cancer - he was 59. In Dad’s case he had no symptoms before he began passing blood in his urine and by the time he received his diagnosis it had already spread beyond the prostate and eventually claimed his life.
As a young man losing my father was devastating to me and I knew from that experience that I would be at a greater risk myself of developing this cancer and as such I spoke to my GP and began screening at the age of 40.
Approximately two years ago I learnt through my GP that digital rectal exams (DREs) were no longer being supported by the AMA and as such my GP would no longer perform that examination. To be honest I was quite happy with the news that things had changed because let’s face it, it’s not the most pleasant experience.
Advance the clock to January 2016 and I am supporting a mate who has just received a diagnosis of prostate cancer when he informs me that his specialist has advised him that a PSA test alone is not sufficient to screen for prostate cancer and that a DRE is essential for effective screening.
With no symptoms and a recent PSA test behind me, I went off to see a urologist and to my horror my worst fears began to materialise. My urologist told me he had felt a hardening of my prostate and sent me for further tests including an MRI and biopsy.
At 7pm on the 2nd March 2016, the phone rang and it was my Doctor advising me that I had prostate cancer…… my world stopped. If hearing the words that you have cancer isn’t bad enough, looking into the eyes of your children and seeing the fear in their faces is almost too much to bear.
In the following days and weeks, surgery was planned and lots of information was provided to me. To be honest I couldn’t bring myself to read the pamphlets or watch the DVDs, it was far too scary for me, just the thought of having cancer terrified me. It wasn’t until I came across a reference to the Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse, Chris McNamara that things changed. Chris and I spoke on the phone and all my questions were answered and a lot of my fears were put to bed.
In April 2016 I underwent a robotic prostatectomy at Greenslopes, six weeks later I returned to work on modified duties, and after 12 weeks post surgery I returned to full operational duties.
I guess the lesson to be learnt out of my experience is that screening saves lives, be proactive and start a conversation with your mates and loved ones about this disease. In my case, if it had not been for a mate who shared a conversation with me, I would probably be lying on my couch now none the wiser that I had an aggressive cancer within my prostate.
- To find out more about prostate cancer services at Greenslopes Private Hospital, click here.