David is 66 years old; he retired four years ago from a career in consulting engineering. He was born in far North Queensland at Mt Mulligan (only white person born there), and moved to Geelong in the 70’s to study. It was here he met local girl Jan, got married and they have been here ever since.
At age 60 David attended an appointment with his GP for a general health check. A blood test covering a wide range of tests, including PSA, was arranged. David recalls how the results were all excellent, except for an elevated PSA of 7; he was referred to a urologist for further investigation.
At the urologist’s appointment David had a DRE which indicated an enlarged prostate. A biopsy was booked at the hospital a week later, and the week after that he had a bone scan. The week following the bone scan he had an appointment in Melbourne for an MRI.
Following the testing David returned to his urologist to be informed that he did in fact have prostate cancer, with a Gleason Score of 8.5. The scans indicated that it was contained. The urologist also told David that he would like him to have another biopsy to ensure targeting of the exact location of the cancer within the prostate. After this second biopsy he received a phone call from the urologist advising him to come in that week, and to bring his wife Jan. David recalls, “He laid it on the table, telling me that I only had three years ahead of me if I chose to do nothing; he said that I had a very aggressive cancer. He then presented me with all manner of US-sourced statistical evidence to reinforce the situation, and the need to act on it.”
The urologist provided David with a range of treatment options. David responded by asking him what his preferred option would be if it was he who was in the same situation. The urologist replied that he would choose a radical prostatectomy as there was a 99% chance that the cancer was still contained, and not metastasised. David and Jan accepted that advice.
The operation was booked for a week later, and David spent five nights post-op in hospital. He was informed that, as well as his prostate, six lymph nodes had been removed. Pathology results were also provided, and these showed that the cancer had not metastasised. The urologist told David that he now had another 10 years ahead of him, and not three.
David was discharged from hospital, returning home to recover. Anticipating continence problems, David tells how he and Jan had stocked up with pads and oversized jocks for the long-term. However, they ended up being massively over-supplied, as he regained full bladder control within a week of discharge.
PSA blood testing continued at three-monthly intervals post-op. At the six-monthly check David was informed that his PSA was rising. By the ninth month his PSA had almost reached a point where a scan might be required, and which then might be followed up with radiation treatment. Fortunately, his 12- monthly check showed the PSA to be dropping. David continues to have PSA checks every three months, and most recently his urologist suggested that the cancer was probably benign.
David first heard about the Geelong Prostate Support Group from the lovely staff in St John of God hospital during surgery. Since then he has attended every meeting when not travelling. David has also instigated general men’s health discussions with neighbours, walking friends and colleagues whenever possible. At times David has been approached by partners of friends seeking information, and requesting him to talk to their husbands about having PSA blood tests.
Jan has attended every consultation, “apart from the first, thank goodness”, and kept records of discussions, numbers, percentages etc. She has shared this information with partners seeking support. David and Jan love travelling both within Australia, particularly with their caravan, and overseas. Some recent trips away have taken them to destinations such as Japan, China, Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Scandinavia, Russia and South America. David is very conscious of the importance of maintaining a good level of health and fitness and enjoys walking, canoeing and good wine whilst trying to manage his diet.