Ralph’s PSA Story:
I was a seventy six year old, active and healthy individual, still working full time as an osteopath and kinesiologist, when my friend Jason Webster offered me a voucher for a PSA test at the local Randox office. As I had no symptoms, I did not get excited about it, but decided to go along anyway, just in case.
The accrual test was done from a small blood sample, which I did not even feel being taken. My BMI was measured on an interesting machine, which gave some surprising information on a chronic left shoulder problem.
My PSA test result was , as far as I remember, about 7.6. I was asked to go back for a check up the following year, when the lady earnestly asked that I be sure to contact my GP. As my PSA was only 9.1 I was surprised that she was so insistent, however I got to see my GP within a couple of days (it being at the start of lockdown). Within another few days I had seen a urologist and been referred for a biopsy and bone scan, which I had a week later in a near deserted Ulster Hospital. I was then informed that I had a ‘Gleason Score’ of 9 out of 10, which put me in the highest risk category for prostate cancer, and I had an 11mm tumour.
As a complementary and alternative practitioner with some 50 years of experience I immediately set about finding ways of treating myself, but it was soon obvious that the pathology was unlikely to respond to any type of functional medicine. Prof. O’Sullivan at the Cancer Centre at the City Hospital showed me the scans and talked me through his proposed treatment, which is being carried out on large numbers of men every day in that unit.
I was prescribed hormone treatments (tablets to suppress both testosterone and oestrogen) for a year, then had 20 radiotherapy treatments, five per week, which was the standard dose at the time. I have heard that this has since been halved in many cases.
The hormone tablets made me feel rather strange- I could only describe it as being like a neutered cat! However, after I finished taking the medication I felt back to normal within a few weeks, albeit with absolutely no sexual function remaining. In all other respects, however, I continue to lead a normal life. I was able to have my radiotherapy treatments first thing in the morning and go on to work a full day afterwards.
My six monthly PSA tests, now carried out by the NHS, show consistently under 0.8 so I am very happy and confident that I can enjoy many years of active life. I do shudder to think of what might have happened had I not had the initial tests, I could be riddled with bone metastases etc by now! So a BIG, BIG thank you to Jason Webster and Randox Health. I do consider you have probably saved my life!
To any man reading this, I would urge you to have this simple PSA test done regularly. Forewarned is forearmed! The earlier these things are found the easier they are to treat.