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Interview 38

Age at interview: 42
Age at diagnosis: 42
Brief Outline: Testicular cancer (seminoma) diagnosed in 2001; orchidectomy. No secondary tumours found, but one session of just one hour of chemotherapy as an outpatient to prevent recurrence.
Background: System and Support Manager; married, 4 children.

More about me...

 

Describes the CT scan and remembers the liquid he had to drink before the scan.

Describes the CT scan and remembers the liquid he had to drink before the scan.

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What was it like having a CT scan?

It was quite exciting really (laughs), you see it on Casualty and things like that. The worst part of the CT scan was the fluids that they make you drink. Before the CT scan the nurse came out with this, about a litre, a couple of pints of this colourless liquid which tasted a bit like aniseed and you had to drink the lot of it er in a fairly short space of time. The first couple of cups down, I quite like aniseed and liquorice so that wasn't too bad to start with, but by the time you're sort of through a pint of it it's starting to taste fairly unpleasant and not very nice. So they fortunately gave you some, lots of squash to at least give it a different flavour and make it a little bit easier to take that down. The CT scan itself basically it's, the machine you sit on a sliding trolley or you lie on a sliding trolley which slides in and out of a ring which is probably the best way of describing it. And it's all fairly automated I think and you know a voice from the machine prompts you to take a deep breath and hold it at different stages through the examination. I think they were doing the full body, fully body scan, I'm not sure they did the head but they did, certainly doing the abdomen and the chest. It doesn't take very long, may be 10 minutes in total from the start of the thing going but they did come through about half way, half way through and thrust another straw at me, and some sort of thick syrupy substance I had to swallow. It think these are all dyes or they have an effect of a dye in showing up different organs or allowing them to distinguish organs on the scan.

But they didn't have to inject anything?

No injections er no.

 

Says that doctors have told him that there is no link between vasectomy and testicular cancer but...

Says that doctors have told him that there is no link between vasectomy and testicular cancer but...

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Do you ever think about what might have caused it, has that ever crossed your mind?

The only thing that crossed my mind, 'prior to the vasectomy I think there had been a study which had suggested that there was may be an increased risk of testicular cancer following vasectomy and I remember reading that and being a bit concerned at the time. But I was more concerned about an increase in family so I guess so that took priority. It seemed to be being discounted as not being valid research and whenever I've raised it with the surgeon prior to the surgery, whether that could've been a factor, or with the oncologist after, they've both immediately said that it wasn't any, you know, there's no proven links. Whether that's everyone just sort of sticking together in the medical world or what, I don't know. I haven't looked on the Internet or anywhere for vasectomy to see if they're still suggesting there's a link. But other than that, I had you know the usual sort of knocks as a child I guess, one sticks in my mind, you know, a particularly bad knock with a cricket ball. They're probably the only 2 things that I've may be thought about. But again, I'm told there's no linkage between you know a physical blow and developing the cancer.

 

Explains what it was like to have a short session of chemotherapy to prevent cancer spread.

Explains what it was like to have a short session of chemotherapy to prevent cancer spread.

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They put a drip up, put a cannula into the vein, in just in your wrist actually, and put up the medication. It was a bit cold, it had just come out the fridge so, but there was no, no discomfort from the drug itself as it was being pumped in. The only discomfort I felt was towards the end of it, I suppose it took may be an hour to pump the chemotherapy through, the only discomfort I felt was from the needle in my wrist, towards the end it was starting to ache a bit. But yeah, it just sit there and wait for the, you know keep looking at the bag, how much more is there to go (laughs), er read a magazine, chat to my wife, no it was fine.

Right and were you just in there for the one-day then, in hospital?

This was an out-patient, it was really just roll up in the morning, say they're acutely pumping the chemotherapy drug through, it took about an hour, and then may be sort of 15 minutes either side or so for setting up and taking down so it was fairly brief, just done as an out-patient.

 

Explains why he agreed to have chemotherapy even though he would have preferred surveillance.

Explains why he agreed to have chemotherapy even though he would have preferred surveillance.

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The prospect of radiation or chemotherapy drugs didn't enthuse me, shall I say so I was more interested in the surveillance option. He [the doctor] didn't seem at all keen on that, wouldn't, didn't recommend it. He seemed, I think he shared my concerns about the radiotherapy and I'd read the information about radiotherapy which suggested that there were er long term problems associated with that and so he was sort of directing me I guess down the chemotherapy option, but not forcing me down that route, but he wasn't recommending do nothing as such. 

A lot of conflicting information. Most of the information is, seems to be study based, controlled studies and different conclusions being drawn. Probably more er suggested that whilst surveillance appeared to be an equivalent method of treatment to radiotherapy or chemotherapy they didn't recommend that it would be appropriate outside of a controlled study and that the studies all seemed to be conducted with very regular CT scans every 3 months. When I talked to the oncologist he didn't think that was a good idea at all because of the xray dosage that you get through a CT scan. If we went for surveillance he would only be talking about an annual CT, he wasn't at all keen on doing any more regular than that and the sites that had been suggested surveillance were all sort of saying if you can't follow this sort of protocol then it's not a very good idea. And they were all talking CT scans every 3, 4 months for the first 2 or 3 years and then gradually increasing the intervals between the scans.

In the end I guess you sort of, well bowed to pressure may be isn't the right way of putting it, but as I said before I'd already crossed out radiotherapy, didn't want anything to do with that so that left me with making a choice between the new chemotherapy that they were trialing and surveillance. The surveillance protocol, programme that I would be offered in this country didn't seem to meet the suggested standard required by the information on the American site that had first awakened me to surveillance as an option for this so 

You mean you wouldn't be able to have enough CT scans?

Wouldn't be able to have enough CT scans or regular enough CT scans, regular enough xrays er not that I want lots of radiation but it seems to you know suggest that you know it suggested that it needed to be followed closely, that closely to catch any recurrence early so that it could be treated. So I ended up agreeing reluctantly I guess to the Carboplatin treatment.

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