Prostate cancer patient
Retired television producer, Peter Hayton, was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the same time that the National Institute for Health Care Excellence (NICE) changed its guidance on treatment. Peter was considering his options as NICE announced that more patients with intermediate-risk, localised disease should undergo active surveillance - involving regular blood tests, biopsies and review rather than having treatment.
Sixty-eight year old Peter, who now helps his wife on their alpaca farm in The New Forest, tells his story, and explains why he’s glad that - despite the new NICE guideline - he opted for treatment.
“My GP referred me to specialists after a regular, routine blood test, picked up that I had raised PSA levels. I had a biopsy and further tests before being told that I had prostate cancer.
My private medical insurance enabled me to have an MRI scan which showed my prostate cancer was graded at T3, and this opened the option of having treatment.
Considering what to do was an interesting black hole to look into. I did my research and looked into everything, and decided that, on balance, I’d prefer to undergo three months of hormone treatment followed by a seven and a half week course of radiotherapy.
I was warned there may be side effects to the treatment, even though the risk of this was greatly reduced due to me having the more highly targeted Genesis Care treatment.
The team at the centre were really very good. As soon as I’d been referred I received a phone call inviting me in to look around and find out more about what I would experience, and as soon as I stepped in I felt happy about the ambiance of the place.
Having the treatment was no problem. It only took a few minutes and was very straight forward and not at all uncomfortable.
The benefits of having the highly targeted stuff really came home to me one day when I’d pulled a muscle causing my pelvis to be out of line. The team picked up on this and made adjustments to the targeting of the radiotherapy so that only the cancer, and not my pelvis, was being zapped.
I’m delighted to say that apart from tiredness, which I know will slowly improve, I’ve not experienced any side effects at all. Being diagnosed with cancer was a trying and terrifying time, made much better by the supportive, friendly and professional team around me.
I was able continue with life as normal throughout my treatment, including walks in the New Forest, riding my Harley Davidson, and helping my wife, Nikki, with the alpacas. They are beautiful animals to be around and being able to get outside and work with them was really beneficial.
I’d read that in some circumstances active surveillance may be preferable as it avoids surgery or radiotherapy treatment that can sometimes lead to the possibility of serious side effects. I had absolute faith in my doctors and would have adopted this if that had been recommended. However, knowing what I know now, I’m glad that I’ve had the treatment, allowing me to get on with my life.
I know many men do suffer with side effects after treatment, and I feel lucky that I had the chance to have the very best type of radiotherapy. I thank my lucky stars that this treatment was available close by, and was as good as it’s been.
My radiotherapy and care was excellent and I have never, for a moment, regretted having it.”