Frank is 75 years old. He was born in Geelong and qualified as a chemist. He retired in 2000. He had a career working for Mobil Oil. He started as a bench chemist then worked in a range of technical, supervisory and management positions. The last 2 positions were looking after national distribution and then engineering.
This work took him all around Australia and involved living and working in overseas locations. Frank is married to Ruth with 2 children living interstate.
Frank had been having annual PSA tests for several years. After a test in June 2016 he received a note from his doctor advising him to make a return appointment as ‘some additional non-urgent testing was required.’ After some holiday time Frank made that appointment in December and was informed that his PSA had jumped from 2.1 to 11.
He was referred to a urologist, and an appointment made for January 2017. A DRE was undertaken, and the urologist told Frank that he was concerned about a lump he could feel on the side of the prostate. A visit to the hospital for a biopsy was advised. Frank was informed of the results – a Gleeson score of 8, reflected an aggressive cancer of his prostate.
The urologist next sent Frank for a bone scan, and the result indicated that the cancer had not metastasized outside the prostate to his bones. A PET scan was suggested, and this required a trip to Ballarat. This scan found nothing irregular outside the prostate.
Frank’s urologist outlined the two options of radiation treatment or surgery, and the survival years of each. He didn’t spend long considering those options. “Having been shown the figures, I thought it was a clear choice.”
Frank had a robotic prostatectomy in May 2017 which lasted four and a half hours. After three nights in hospital Frank was discharged with a catheter in place; this was removed a week later when a nurse visited him at home. After removal, of the catheter Frank had a serious urinary incontinence problem and has worked hard for twelve months with his physiotherapist on pelvic floor exercises to address this, and the persistence has paid off.
At a post-operative appointment, the urologist declared that the margins were clear; he had taken plenty of lymph gland material. He is now having PSA blood testing every six months, and his urologist is very happy with the results.
Frank first came across the Geelong Prostate Support Group through Des Graeme. They are both members of the Rotary Club of Geelong.
Frank looks after his health with gym work and walking. Until recently he spent up to three months away each year caravanning throughout Australia happy to escape the cold winter, and this might resume in the future. Frank volunteers one day a week for Volunteering Geelong. This group oversees the placement of volunteers in organisations throughout Geelong. Frank is a member of Geelong Rotary Club and was president for two years. He also spends time reading.