My prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment journey
Being diagnosed with prostate cancer, and making the many decisions around treatment, can be a lonely and confusing journey. So we were grateful when one of our customers got in touch, volunteering to appear in a series of videos talking about his personal experience of prostate cancer diagnosis, treatment, recovery and side-effects.
He wanted to let other men know that they're not alone in their experience of prostate cancer and incontinence after prostatectomy, so he shared the story of his own diagnosis and treatment journey in this video. As he explains, the initial shock of a prostate cancer diagnosis was followed by a period of research while he explored his options, including prostate cancer surgery (prostatectomy) and radiation, weighed up the pros and cons and decided which was the best prostate cancer treatment for him.
How was your prostate cancer diagnosed?
“I was a chiropractor for years. I started my practice in 1986 and I had an office in Boston for 25 years. For 25 years I went to a medical doctor in Boston and, to be honest with you, he never once examined my prostate. And then when I moved out here to Weston and opened my practice here in Weston I got a new physician and I said to her, ‘You know I’ve never had my prostate examined’, and she says, ‘Well I’ll examine it’. So she examined my prostate and she goes, ‘You know I think I feel something’ and so she sent me to a urologist and the urologist palpated it and said, ‘Yeah I think I feel something, better do a biopsy’. So he did a biopsy and he said, ‘You do have prostate cancer’.
Did you have any warning signs of prostate cancer?
“The funny thing about my prostate cancer is that I also had an MRI which was negative and then my PSA was 2.2, which was extremely low, so the only way to detect it at the time was the fact that they felt it. Supposedly when you have prostate cancer 3+3 on the Gleason scale you can do something called active surveillance and that’s what I chose to do. Then a year later I went back to the urologist and he did another biopsy, which is not a fun test. It came back as 3+4 on the Gleason scale, so when you have 3+4 then they believe that you do need to treat it.”
How did you decide on the best prostate cancer treatment for you?
“A friend of mine recommended this doctor at Mass General. I went to him and he doesn’t use the robot, he does open surgery. But he said I should also go to the other people who do radiation, so I went to two different radiation oncologists. Then there’s these seeds and this other thing where you get 24 treatments or some number of treatments, but the time that I’d have to do it didn’t appeal to me. So I also went and got a second opinion on the slides at Brigham Hospital and they said, ‘Yes you’re Gleeson 3+4 and you should do something’. They said, ‘If it were my husband I would do it’. So I went with the surgeon here in Boston and had the prostate surgery about three and a half years ago.”
Why did you choose a radical prostatectomy (removal of the prostate gland)?
“I was about 60-61 when I was first diagnosed with prostate cancer. The thing about prostate cancer surgery is that they do something today called nerve-sparing surgery. I was really interested in that as a chiropractor because I know how the nervous system controls everything. And so I went into the surgery hoping that they would be able to save my nerves that control all the functions, that control the bladder, bowel and the sexual function. I chose my surgeon because he promised me he would be able to spare the nerves in my case.”
What was it like experiencing incontinence after prostate surgery? How long after prostate surgery does incontinence last?
“When I came out of the surgery, I did have some of these problems. After three and a half years most have solved themselves but I still occasionally get some leakage. Confitex underpants give me the confidence that I can go about my day and not worry about that happening so much, because it does happen, but Confitex underpants take care of it and at the end of the day I can just put those pants in the wash, dry them and then reuse them again.”
For many men, initial heavy urinary incontinence after surgery is followed by an extended period of light-to-moderate bladder leaks. That's when they find Confitex’s washable incontinence underwear for men ideal. Made of soft stretch fabric, just like ordinary underwear, our leakproof boxer briefs are comfortable and discreet, so you can get on with life without worrying about continually buying and disposing of single-use male urinary incontinence products such as guards and shields.
Please note that this story reflects one man’s personal experience and choices – he is not making any recommendations for others. Every man’s circumstances are different, so consult your doctor for advice.
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