Losing his dad to prostate cancer 11 years ago came as a shock to Andy Powers, who has been having regular PSA tests ever since.
“Once dad died of prostate cancer I made sure I was going in every year for a PSA test,” Andy said.
“Dad went in for a biopsy and it came up with a level 10 Gleeson rating. It was very aggressive, he died three months later.”
After almost a decade of having regular tests, Andy missed one year. When looking back he says this was a huge mistake.
“Due to blood test complications I didn’t go back for 12 months. That was the one I should have had. They gave me another blood test and a week later I was called back in and told I had a PSA level of 8.”
To rule out any infections doctors put Andy on a course of antibiotics, but only a month later tests soon confirmed his PSA level had risen to 10 and soon after it was up to 17. He had prostate cancer at the age of 56 years old.
Since his levels were growing so rapidly Andy’s surgeon Dr Kym Horsell pushed for surgery to be conducted as soon as possible.
“I went in at 1pm on Friday the 20th of February. Six and a half hours later I came out.
“When I woke up I was told they had to take out the prostate and several lymph nodes.
“They said we’ve got some bad news for you, the cancer has got into your lymph nodes which means it’s travelling through your body.”
Andy started on hormone therapy before beginning seven weeks of radiotherapy treatment.
“What was amazing is that my PSA after the operation was 2, it then went back to 1 and then 0.21. This is exceptional.
“The hormone therapy that they are using to stop the cancer from spreading to my bones is working.
“Now I can get on with the rest of my life.”
Despite his diagnosis and the rough journey he has had, Andy considers himself one of the lucky ones because thanks to advances in treatment not only did doctors catch his cancer but they were able to get rid of it.
“I’ve been so lucky; the doctors have hit me with a lot and have saved my life. I’m so appreciative – you wouldn’t believe.”
Source: Hospital Research Foundation