At some risk of becoming boring, I think I must add this final episode to this series about my prostate cancer treatment. Today I had the long-awaited meeting at Velindre Cancer Centre, Cardiff, and there were no surprises. My PSA level had fallen to 0.1 (almost 12 months ago it was 37) and I was able to report that all side effects of the treatment were slowly diminishing. By the time I had finished with the radiotherapy I had experienced few side effects, the main ones being hot flushes and tiredness, both of which I attributed to the monthly Prostap injections though tiredness can be caused by the radiotherapy as well.
The even less desirable side effects of radiotherapy can include urgent bowel problems (in which you get about 30-60 seconds warning that you need to “go”), and also the need to pass water more frequently (and especially, it seemed to me, at night). Both of these are manageable to a degree, if given a little forethought. The bowel problem didn’t really occur until after my four weeks of radiotherapy had finished (April 26). Even then it was infrequent and ceased 3-4 weeks later. On the other hand, getting up several times at night to pass water started a little earlier and continues still, halfway through June. However, at first it was 6-7 times per night (yet another contributor to tiredness) but it is now down to 2-3 times and should reduce further in the next month or two.
The Prostap injections will continue but soon they will be changed from 28-day intervals to every three months, which will be more convenient. These will (it is hoped) maintain the low PSA readings (which will be tested and reviewed every six months) and we will not know the true situation until the injections finish in three years time when the PSA will be “all my own work” without the aid of injections. If the PSA rises significantly at any time it might (but not necessarily) mean that the cancer is starting again but, by all accounts, that is pretty unlikely. In any case, that prospect becomes less serious as I get older, my theory being that prostate cancer develops relatively slowly (especially in older men) and there are lots of other ailments in Black’s Medical Dictionary that are quite likely to “get you” before the cancer does!
So good news all round and, once again, all credit to Velindre Cancer Centre, Cardiff, for a great job well done.