And that seemed to do the trick, and since then I’ve been having a series of six monthly checks, readings have been very low. They have more recently been, again, showing a slight tendency to rise but at an extremely low level, so I’m going along like that at present. And that really is the present situation of it.
So where do you go for your six monthly checks for the PSA levels?
Well, I have medical insurance, so I’ve been going, in fact, alternately to [private hospital] and [other private hospital], both in [local town].
So you don’t have to go through your GP to get those?
No, no I don’t. That is arranged directly with my consultants. I still have the two consultants, the oncologist and the surgeon, though I’m tending more now to see the oncologist.
And how, so I suppose that means that you haven’t been formally discharged then from your hospital care. Have they at any point said to you?
Well, I was discharged from surgery and discharged from radiotherapy, yes. But I suppose it is an ongoing thing. I think I remarked to you when we were on the phone once that, you know, you can never really claim with cancer, in my experience, to be following cancer, it’s finished with. It never really is because you go on being monitored and so on, and I was told I was going to be monitored for the rest of my life.
So how do you feel usually before you go for a PSA test? I mean do you ever feel anxious or worried about?
Not especially, no. I think there’s a moment of mild anxiety before going to see the consultant to get the result, but it’s become fairly routine this really. On the whole, I suppose I’m not a great worrier.
And when you have a PSA test conducted, do they give you the results immediately or do you have to?
No, what usually happens is that I arrange the test myself and pop into the hospital. They take the blood test and I also, at the same time, arrange a consultation a week later with my consultant to give time for him to get the results and then I go and see him. Now, possibly on national health that might not work in the same way. I think it’s probably done at your local GP’s surgery and you probably ring up and get the result. In fact, I know that when I’ve had a blood test for something else on national health, what seems to happen is I ring the surgery and they say, “Oh, yes. It’s normal”, and that’s all the information you get, whereas I get the full details of the actual reading, which I like to have.
If you worried about your cancer, who would be the first person that you would contact to get information or advice?
Well, if it was to do with an existing cancer, let’s say the prostate cancer, then since I’m seeing my own consultant six monthly on that, unless it would seem rather pressing, then I would probably raise it with him when I went to see him. In recent, you know, the recent two or three times since I had the, or two or three times ago, the oncology consultant said, did I wish to go on seeing him six months, because if I preferred, he could just write to me with the result each time and leave it at that. But I said, “No”. I thought it was quite useful to make it in to actually see him every six months, and that’s the opportunity to discuss things. So that’s the way it’s gone on.