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Interview 30

Age at interview: 70
Age at diagnosis: 66
Brief Outline: Diagnosed with prostate cancer 1996, hormone treatment.
Background:

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Raises the possibility of gene therapy and the impact of diet.

Raises the possibility of gene therapy and the impact of diet.

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Have you ever thought about what might cause prostate cancer, do you think some men are more vulnerable than others?

Well it is, the evidence now is coming up that it's in the genes in a lot of cases. I saw the programme - Professor Winston - on television the night before last I think it was, he was on about cancer and they found that people in Iceland, the population of Iceland is so small that when they traced their ancestry back they found they was related to about 9 people that had originally colonised Iceland, and when they went through the genes they found that all of them going way back, hundreds of years had this gene which causes cancer. And they was talking about gene therapy in years to come they can manipulate genes successfully they can remove that gene like that they can with many other diseases and it will cut it out. But diet is supposed to be one of the worst things because they found that in Japan prostate cancer is just about unknown because their diet consists of nothing else but oily fish and rice and stuff like that whereas we have animal fats and things that are detrimental to our health. They think that prostate cancer is caused by diet because they're relating the two diets and they're entirely different, so they think it might be the diet.

 

Describes how he received calls from people wanting to know more about prostate cancer.

Describes how he received calls from people wanting to know more about prostate cancer.

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You were saying that you had telephone calls from all over the country?

Yes all over the country were people who contacted the Prostate Cancer Charity and they send them the list of patients who are willing to talk about their complaints and their treatments and what not and it's surprising people all over the place. I think you can give a bit of reassurance to them, when you've been diagnosed quite a while and the person who's phoning is newly diagnosed I think you can do a lot of good because it's very traumatic, they don't know who to turn to and these organisations like Cancerbackup are very, very good. The trained nurses who can talk to and advise them.

 

Describes the changes he made to his diet and decision to take selenium supplements.

Describes the changes he made to his diet and decision to take selenium supplements.

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I have green tea, I have loads of tomatoes, tomatoes processed that is, like these bolognese sauces and things like that they're very high lycopene which is supposed to be an anti oxidant that cuts down on the risk of cancer and if you have prostate cancer it cuts down the oxidants, it's wonderful they reckon and I've cut out milk products, dairy products. I have skimmed milk instead of full cream milk and there's quite a few things that I've changed. I get loads of fresh vegetables, I have loads of fruit, oh and I have a selenium tablet every day because they think that selenium is lacking in our diet to such an extent whereas in the far east there is selenium in the ground where they grow the vegetables and whatnot, they get plenty of selenium and we don't because our produce is grown so much with chemicals instead of natural manure and things like that that we're not getting the selenium into our bodies. So they advise taking selenium tablets, supplements.

 

Expresses his inconvenience at taking Casodex tablets everyday.

Expresses his inconvenience at taking Casodex tablets everyday.

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But the only trouble was my PSA count had gone up to 67, which was outside the criteria for brachytherapy, and there was evidence it has spread to my bones, the rest of my body. I had a bone scan and they found a hot spot in my groin and I had to forget about brachytherapy from then on. And since then I've been on hormone therapy. I started off on Zoladex monthly injections, then I went on to Zoladex three monthly and then he asked if I would like to go on Casodex tablets which is one a day. And I find it very inconvenient because I have to remember every day to take one whereas the 3 monthly injections were very convenient. You had the injection and forgot about it but my PSA count, the last PSA count I had it was .9, it had gone down and I'm quite happy.

 

States how embarrassed he is at the side effects of hormone treatment.

States how embarrassed he is at the side effects of hormone treatment.

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Does the Casodex affect you now?

Yes like all hormone therapy [laughs],it's hot flushes that if you're emotionally upset or anything like that, if you're embarrassed you just break out in a sweat and it can happen at any time, anywhere, it doesn't matter what the temperature you could be in the most, in a freezer and it can still happen. Any man who starts getting this, if he's got a wife who's gone through the menopause just ask her. My wife turns round and says 'You're not getting any sympathy off me', 'cos when you're in bed you see you break out in a sweat in bed and you want to throw the bed clothes off and that and I said 'Oh it's come again this hot sweats you know,' she says 'I know all about it, I've been through it,' she says 'You never got away from me when I was suffering,' and well we just laugh about it but it's uncomfortable and those are the only two things that, is lack of sleep, the insomnia and the hot sweats. But other than that I've never had any problems, I mean I'm just coming up to 71 and I've just got this new house, I've converted a building site to a garden and done a lot of hard work shifting furniture, decorating and all that so I'm not complaining you know, you've got to look at it positive.

 

Explains how a younger man would have more problems with impotence than he would.

Explains how a younger man would have more problems with impotence than he would.

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And how do you think it makes men feel these side effects of hormonal treatment?

Well in a younger man I think the impotence would worry them because it might affect their married life, it depends how the relationship between the husband and the wife is. In my case as I say we've got 3 grown up daughters now and the wife isn't bothered in any way so it doesn't interest her any more so we get along quite well together you know. She says, actually the hormone, she thinks the hormone therapy has done me good because I'm more even tempered [laughs].

Oh does she.

She says I'm more relaxed now than ever I've been in all the years she's known me.

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