Hamish is 74 years old.
In February 2011 following various tests and an x-ray, he was diagnosed with kidney stones. A year later in February 2012 at a post-operative consultation Hamish’ urologist advised him to have a PSA test, and the PSA score was 9. A later biopsy showed cancer in many of the samples, with a Gleason score of 6.
A bone scan indicated that the cancer was confined to the prostate. Hamish commenced a period of active surveillance with six-monthly PSA testing, and trending down. By June 2014 Hamish’ urologist expressed alarm at the PSA rise – it had reached 12. Next month another painful biopsy was undertaken, and this time the Gleason score was 8. More scans were done, and these showed that the cancer was still localized.
Hamish was provided with a range of options to consider, though his urologist did lean towards radiation as the preferred treatment. There was concern that due to his age he might not make it through with general anaesthesia. Hamish decided to proceed with radiotherapy.
At the end of July, he attended the Andrew Love Centre where his oncologist had arranged for him to commence hormone deprivation treatment. He was to receive a series of five Lucrin injections, at four- monthly intervals. He has now had four of the five injections.
Hamish was informed of the ‘Man Plan’ exercise regime, specifically designed to respond to the physical effects of the Lucrin injections, and he engages in this at home. As well, he participates in a weekly group weight resistance class. In November Hamish’s urologist implanted gold seeds into his prostate in preparation for the radiotherapy.
In January this year Hamish began the first of what would be 38 daily visits to the Andrew Love Centre for his radiotherapy treatment. With issues of continence and extreme pain during his treatment, (at 2 weeks, rather than 5) there were times when he ‘…thought about cancelling further treatment – literally giving it away.’ Radiotherapy finished in March. He has had one subsequent PSA test and this showed PSA as being undetectable.
Whilst attending treatments at Andrew Love, Hamish picked up a Geelong Prostate Support Group brochure. He attended his first meeting with the Group in February, and has found that Group meetings to be ‘very informative and helpful.’
Hamish has made the most of opportunities available to assist him in dealing with his cancer. As well as taking up the Man Plan and joining the Geelong PSG, Hamish has joined a Haematology and Oncology cancer study Trial, he has attended the Barwon Health Survivorship Program, and he has logged into Prostmate and has also completed a Respecting Patient Choices program.
Hamish has experienced considerable mental challenges, including anxiety and depression, and emotion. He has had discussions with the Cancer Council, Barwon Health Access Team, and Lifeline, all who have been most supportive, and at present he is receiving much assistance from a psychologist at Palliative Care. Hamish has as well, received considerable help from specialist nurses, and a social worker from the Andrew Love Centre. The physical recovery appeared to be getting ahead of the mental recovery.
Hamish notes how much time has been taken up during the past three years in responding to his cancer, and how this has impacted on so many other activities that he enjoys such as gardening, swimming, home maintenance, family, walking, and family business activities.
Hamish has really appreciated being driven to the numerous appointments by Margaret and family members, always organized and arriving on time.