Voiceover: As we get older our sexual organs can start to malfunction. When 69 year old Richard found that he was urinating more frequently, he thought he had a simple infection in his prostate called Prostatitis. But the diagnosis was much worse.
Richard’s wife: To say the word, the word ‘cancer’, was absolutely devastating.
Richard: As everybody knows cancer is a killer and I just thought I had just a few months to live, I didn’t know what to do.
Dr Christian: Richard, hi. Nice to see you. Thanks for coming in. Come and have a seat for me.
Richard: Thank you.
Dr Christian: So Richard you have just been diagnosed with prostate cancer, haven’t you?
Richard: I have, yes.
Dr Christian: Just tell me the lead up to that, why did you go to the doctor in the first place?
Richard: Well, it started with a bout of prostatitis. So, I went to see the doctor and she immediately put me on antibiotics to treat the prostatitis which is just an infection and asked me to have a blood test. The result came back and it was high. She then decided that the best thing to do would be to refer me to a specialist and his decision was to send me for a biopsy and that’s when we had this terrible shock.
Voiceover: The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system. Its main function is to store and secrete a fluid that is part of semen. Symptoms of cancer usually involve problems with urination such as a weak flow, a flow which stops and starts or frequent urination, especially at night.
Dr Christian: So actually catching the prostatitis was a very lucky thing because the cancer was giving you no symptoms at all.
Richard: That’s right, and it still hasn’t.
Dr Christian: The options really that you are offered are the radiotherapy locally to your prostate to try and shrink the cancer down, or surgery. And you either have an open surgery with an incision and the whole thing is removed or the more advanced technique now is a keyhole operation, microsurgery, just using telescopes and probes in through incisions, not a great open wound.
Voiceover: Richard has been diagnosed with the most common cancer found in men. 60% of cases are in men over 70 but there is hope.
Mr Alan Doherty: Keyhole surgery is quite new, but its minimally invasive, there’s virtually no pain after the operation, recovery is quick, the view that we get with the actual operating itself is superb and so the accuracy of the surgery is improved.
Voiceover: The outlook looks good for Richard because Mr Alan Doherty is going to use a new treatment. He makes 5 small incisions in the lower part of the abdomen, the middle one being for the camera and the others for the instruments.
Mr Doherty: There’s the prostate there. So what I’m trying to do now is to separate the bladder from the prostate.
Voiceover: By removing the whole prostate the surgeon is cutting out the whole cancer and hopefully stopping it from spreading.
Mr Doherty: And that’s it, no prostate.
Voiceover: Finally Mr Doherty connects Richard’s bladder to the urinary tract. The bagged prostate is then removed via one of the existing incisions. In just under 2 hours it’s all over and Richard is sent to the recovery room while his prostate is sent to the lab for further analysis. Richard will have to wait a few weeks before he can find out if the cancer has been stopped in time. It’s an anxious time for 69 year old Richard. Three weeks after undergoing keyhole surgery to remove his cancerous prostate he is finally back to find out if his cancer was contained or not.
Mr Doherty: The first thing that they say in the report is that the tumour was multifocal, in other words the cancer spread around the place rather than just in one big lump. The whole prostate was relatively unstable. The combined tumour volume is still very small and it’s the nicest type of cancer, in other words the least likely one to cause you problems in the future. The next question is, has it grown outside the prostate? And the answer to that is no it hasn’t so it’s still contained in the prostate.
Voiceover: Richard has got the result he wanted and the prostate cancer has gone. He’ll continue to be monitored in the future but now he can go home and celebrate.
Richard: It’s all been removed without any being left behind and I’m feeling absolutely delighted at the result.
Richard’s wife: It’s fantastic, absolutely fantastic.
Richard: It means that I can get back to living an absolutely normal life which I’ve been looking forward to.
Richard’s wife: A good future, a good future; that’s what it is really.
Dr Christian meets a 69 year old patient who, after suffering from the bacterial infection Prostatitis, was later diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Symptoms of prostate cancer can involve urinary problems such as needing to pee frequently and a weakened flow. New developments in treatments such as keyhole surgery mean that treatment can be administered quickly and with minimum invasion and soon patient Richard and his wife can continue with their usual routine.
Comments and Questions
Comments & Questions are now archived, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.