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Interview 38

Age at interview: 72
Brief Outline: He had mild urinary symptoms, and backache. Knowing that bone pain can be due to the spread of prostate cancer he asked his GP for a PSA test. This was "raised", but when repeated six months later was lower, so he was reassured.
Background: Occupation' Retired teacher. Marital status' Married. Ethnic background' White British.

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He has regular screening for colon cancer because his father died of it and is in favour of...

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He has regular screening for colon cancer because his father died of it and is in favour of...

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Women have mammograms, after the age of 50, they're screened for breast cancer. But men don't have regular screening for prostate cancer. Have got any thoughts about that?

I think, I think I would be in favour of it on the whole. I have a regular screening now for colon cancer because that's what my father died of at 68 and I find that reassuring the fact that some, that it's being monitored my situation because they have found the polyps that precedes cancer, as they have with my younger brother as well. So from that point of view some kind of monitoring process has been very much to our advantage and possibly this would be. I don't' know quite, whether there are the resources to do it but yes I'm, in principle, I'm in favour of it.

 

He consulted his GP with symptoms. The GP did a PSA test without explaining much about it.

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He consulted his GP with symptoms. The GP did a PSA test without explaining much about it.

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So when you went to see the GP with the backache in the first place...

Mm yes

...he said he was going, he ought to do a blood test, did he explain why?

Well it wasn't just a backache, I seem to have various aches, the hips particularly as well were aching too. and I think, and there was a kidney one, there was a kidney blood test too, that's another one they included, and I think he was really trying to find the source of this backache as much as anything so whatever blood tests were necessary for that that was what was done.

Did you tell him that you were having some urinary problems as well?

Oh yes, yes I did tell him that yes.

So he did the blood test but he didn't explain at that stage that he was going to do a PSA test, you didn't know that he was going to do a PSA test?

I don't think he called it that, I think he did say he would test for the prostate yes.

Okay but he didn't give you any written information about it or anything before you had the test?

No, no.

So you didn't really know what a PSA test was?

I didn't, I asked my brother actually [laughs] and he said it was prostate specific antigen so I thought oh well. Because PSA to me meant something my mother used to sing in called the Pleasant Sunday Afternoon [laughs] which is a band, an orchestra.

Oh right. So you didn't have any information about whether it would be a good thing to have a PSA test or a best thing to have a PSA test?

No.

You just did what the doctor thought best?

Yes, yes.

So the decisions to do the blood test was his?

Yes.

 

Doesn't know what the PSA results mean or what result he should expect for a man of his age.

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Doesn't know what the PSA results mean or what result he should expect for a man of his age.

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And you say you didn't really know what the different levels were or what is normal for your age or anything?

No I don't, I still don't really, and I don't really know what the units mean and what a unit is a unit of. So, and I still don't know. I suppose it's strange in a way that, I should've talked to my brother a bit more, he's a very reticent person but I don't know what medication he's on, he's on some sort of medication and his levels don't seem to be increasing at all. Whatever his medication is seems to be working so, but medication has never been discussed in my case.

 

His PSA was abnormal but having discussed it with his GP he decided to repeat the test after six...

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His PSA was abnormal but having discussed it with his GP he decided to repeat the test after six...

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Yes I had been a little bit worried about increasing frequency of urination, particularly at night time, not able to get through a night without getting up and sometimes twice at night. But I think I really started to take it seriously when I had quite severe backache because a friend of mine had suffered from very severe backache which they couldn't actually diagnose until eventually they found that it was a secondary cancer from the prostate and so I thought well backache and this urination perhaps I have a problem. So I went to see my GP and he did a number of, I did a blood test, which were for a number of things particularly the bones and other things too. And when, when I saw him again for the results he said everything was fine except the PSA test which is something I'd never heard of, I didn't really know what PSA meant. he said, 'You're right on the borderline with that.' So I said, 'Well what does that mean?' And he said, 'Well it means that there is a problem, you, and that there are several ways of dealing with it. I could refer you to the hospital and you could see a consultant and he would then decide whether you would have an operation or whatever was necessary or,' he said 'you could leave it for six months and have another blood test and see whether it had got worse in the meantime.' So being a coward I said, 'Yes that's what I'll do, I'll leave it for six months and have, have another blood test.' So he said, 'Fine that's what we'll do.' 

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