Prostate cancer 

An expert explains the symptoms of prostate cancer and the treatment options available. Phillip Kissi describes his experience of being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Should I have a PSA test?

Transcript of Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer affects older men much more than younger men.

If affects men who live in the West more than men in the Far East

and it affects black men more than white men

and men with a family history more than those without.

The prostate gland is a small gland that sits underneath the bladder.

It's about the size of a satsuma

and most men don't even know it's there,

except that as they got older, the prostate gradually enlarges

and that can cause urinary symptoms.

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2006.

I was on leave and I saw a programme on TV about prostate cancer

and I just thought, "I'm over 40, might as well go and check up."

I had no symptoms, that was the strange thing about it.

But I felt that, seeing the programme,

it was important that I went and get a check-up

and also, it was my duty as a family man to do that,

for my wife and my children, and it was so important.

Most men with prostate cancer have no symptoms whatsoever.

When prostate cancer becomes locally advanced,

it can cause difficulty with urination, more frequent urination,

getting up at night to pass urine.

The problem is that those symptoms are almost universal

amongst older men

and so those symptoms are no guide to whether a man's got prostate cancer.

My lowest point must have been leading up to the operation.

Because I had to think, "Well, if I don't pull through,"

and I had to consider this,

you know, "what sort of foundation am I leaving behind?"

"How strong will the family be

and have I done everything humanly possible to pull through?"

Obviously, my fianc´┐Że was very upset.

I mean, just the word, the C word, is enough to knock most people

and then to think, "There's nothing wrong with him."

"Why has he got cancer? Why us?"

Prostate cancer is extremely common.

Almost all men as they get older will develop prostate cancer.

Unlike other cancers, not all men with prostate cancer need treatment.

Most men with prostate cancer have the harmless variety of prostate cancer

that doesn't need treatment.

Some men have aggressive prostate cancer that does need treatment

and we have to distinguish the one from the other.

If you've got a prostate cancer that needs treatment and it's localised,

then it can be cured either with surgery or with radiotherapy.

About three quarters of men are cured.

I had the da Vinci model and it's called a robot

and basically, it's the removal of the prostate

and what the robot did...

And when I say a robot, it was obviously controlled by a doctor and a consultant.

It meant that they could look at the cancer a bit more deeper

and the robot removed the prostate but it was less nerve spearing,

meaning I didn't have much damage to my nerves

and that the recovery would be much quicker.

Technically, you're talking about two and a half weeks, I was back in work.

We don't yet know

whether screening for prostate cancer would do more good than harm

or more harm than good.

We know that screening for prostate cancer would increase the chances

of being diagnosed with prostate cancer,

we don't yet know whether screening will reduce the chances of dying from it.

So in other words, we know that screening does harm,

by increasing the chances of having to deal with prostate cancer,

we don't yet know whether it does good and if so, how much good,

by preventing deaths from prostate cancer.

If anyone would benefit from screening,

it's likely to be those men who are more at risk,

such as men with a family history and black men.

Two of my grandfathers had cancer of the prostate.

I, in fact, up to last week, I thought it was only one

and my mum said to me

that my grandfather also had it and my dad's father also had it as well.

So it was not the talked thing.

You know, they just said, "Oh, he died of urine problem." That was it.

Awareness of prostate cancer is, I think, increasing.

If one goes back 20 years it was not much talked about,

it was largely regarded as a disease of old men

and a disease that men died with rather than of.

And I guess that's now changing.

A lot men don't really want to talk about this.

And I think it's all about that ego image

of demonstrating you're a man, that, "I'm the macho,

I'm well, I don't need a doctor to tell me."

But you do. It takes a big man to actually say,

"I'm going to go and get a check-up."

"I am going to say to the doctor, do whatever you need to do."

If you're diagnosed, it's probably a good idea

to try and lose weight, certainly to avoid being overweight.

It's probably a good idea to take lots of exercise

and it's probably a good idea to cut down on dairy products,

to eat a wide range of fruit and vegetables.

In reality, it's probably more important to follow this advice throughout life,

rather than to wait for a diagnosis.

Removal of a major organ like the prostate,

it takes time for the body to say, "Ooh, that's gone now,"

now the body adjusts itself.

So that's healing and it's helping me to lead a normal life as well.

I made a joke about this to a lot of guys,

I said, you know, what prostate cancer's taught me is that

there's life after the operation

and ask my partner!


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