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Interview 24

Age at interview: 70
Age at diagnosis: 66
Brief Outline: Diagnosed with prostate cancer 1996. TURP in 1996, external beam radiation following diagnosis.
Background:

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Compares the treatment to factory-like conveyor belt.

Compares the treatment to factory-like conveyor belt.

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They were a little bit sort of, a bit like a factory you know a bit like 'Oh well here's the next one, here's the next one,' a quick look at your notes, set you up on the table and get all the gear sorted out, make sure that they're lined up with your tattoos and all the rest of it. Because they tattoo you on the sides, well you probably know and they you know line up their equipment to suit that and away they go out the room and leave you with it. But that was okay. I think it's very difficult to be you know sympathetic with everybody and it's just like a factory really, they're all lined up there ready to go you know there'd usually be what 4 or 5 people at a time.

 

Considers he was not offered any options in his treatment at all.

Considers he was not offered any options in his treatment at all.

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I wasn't given an option, I'll be honest with you I wasn't given an option, they simply said that the TURP operation was necessary, 'When we do the TURP operation we will, we'll have a look at what we take away and have it analysed, that being the biopsy. Yes it's cancerous. Yes it's aggressive and you will need radiotherapy.' I wasn't given any options, I wasn't given the operation where they can actually... what do they call it?

Prostatectomy?

Yes - reconstruct the whole prostate

Remove the whole prostate?

That's right, this apparently is alright in younger men but as you get older its apparently not as effective. The big problem is it can leave you incontinent, not that I was given that option, but it's not very nice to be left incontinent.

In retrospect would you have liked to have been given the option of doing nothing?

No I don't think I could've handled it. It's a bit like well I've got to get rid of it, no I don't think I would, because you'd be walking, you'd be walking around thinking well it's still there. In fact you still do now but not to that extent because you feel somebody has done something for you, well you know somebody has done something for you but no I don't think I could've lived with that.

 

Explains how he developed problems with the back passage after radiotherapy.

Explains how he developed problems with the back passage after radiotherapy.

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There were 20 sessions of that [radiotherapy] and it was halfway through that I discovered that I was having problems with the back passage which I mentioned to them and they well you know you were sort of told that this could happen. And that gradually got worse, even when the treatment finished that got worse and that's still there and I am told that it will never heal up. What it is it's damage, I think it's called proctitis, it's damage to the back passage caused by the radiation treatment, it's radiation to healthy cells. The tissue doesn't heal up properly and the result is you have to keep your bowels as regular as you possibly can because if you don't you'll just aggravate it, you'll make it worse. And also the frequency is increased, instead of possibly just going once or even twice a day you know at the extreme you might have to go three times a day, but the plus sign is you do go as soon as you wake up.

Is it sore as well?

It's not now, it was for the first, it can be painful you know immediately after you've had an evacuation but it's nothing like as sore and as painful as what it used to be and I very rarely use any treatment now. Now the treatment, I tried all the treatments that there are for back passage problems and the best one I was found was Proctofoam.

Is that like a sort of cream?

It is actually a foam and it's inserted into the back passage via a crude kind of hypodermic, like a syringe.

 

Comments on the discomfort in urinating after having radiotherapy.

Comments on the discomfort in urinating after having radiotherapy.

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Were there any other side effects of the operation or the radiotherapy, apart from the back passage soreness?

Apart from the, burning sensation and obviously when you're urinating that can be painful and that still, that still exists today and that I'm told is due to due to the radiation treatment in the prostate area. It's all very tender and you know it's all been upset and it resents it kind of thing. But following that 7 months later after the operation I had to go back in again to have a, there was a stricture in the urethra?

Urethra yes.

There was a stricture there that had to be sorted out, a further bladder incision. I don't know what that was all about but that, I had to have that done.

 

Concludes he could not have lived with watchful waiting.

Concludes he could not have lived with watchful waiting.

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In retrospect would you have liked to have been given the option of doing nothing?

No I don't think I could've handled it. It's a bit like,well I've got to get rid of it, no I don't think I would,because you'd be walking, you'd be walking around thinking well it's still there. In fact you still do now but not to that extent because you feel somebody has done something for you, well you know somebody has done something for you but no I don't think I could've lived with that.

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