Ken is 77 years old. He is a boilermaker by trade, has been an engineering workshop foreman and has owned his own engineering business. He spent 14 years doing fly in-fly out work in mines throughout Australia and New Zealand before retiring two years ago.
Ken had been having regular PSA and DRE checks. In January 2016 his doctor detected a hard lump in his prostate, as well as an elevated PSA level of 18. Ken was referred to a urologist for further investigation. Ken and his wife Karen attended the urologist appointment, and various testing was arranged. During February he had a Trans Rectal Ultra Sound (TRUS), prostate needle biopsy and prostate ultra-sound in Geelong. He also had a PSMA PET scan in Box Hill.
Ken’s urologist consulted with a Board which included three surgeons, and ultrasound experts. Ken was informed that he had a Gleason score of 9, with malignant prostate cancer contained within the prostate which was not invasive. The Board’s advice was that Ken was a prime candidate for a successful removal of the prostate. He was 75, very fit and with no other medical problems.
This came as a major shock. “How long have I got?” was his first question.
The answer – “Five years, but if you have the operation, probably 10.”
Ken notes that “there was lots of consideration, and low moments and lots of backing from Karen.” He decided to proceed with the operation.
At around this time Ken attended his first meeting of the Geelong Prostate Support Group. He heard from other men who all had various stages of cancer and who shared their stories. Ken appreciated the support provided, hearing those stories and experiences helped ease his concerns.
In April Ken had open radical prostate surgery. The Board which had previously advised this procedure was in attendance in the ward following Ken’s operation. “You have done very well. It was a good operation.” They were surprised at how quickly his wound was healing. He was also informed that he had minor cancer on the Ilium bone, and treatment for this would be considered later. Ken spent two nights in hospital before being discharged with catheter in place, “… though it did fall out!” Whilst in hospital he appreciated a visit from the then convener of GPSG, Bruce Kinnersley. Pathology results indicated his prostate to have 80% cancer.
Following his short stay in hospital, Ken’s ‘recovery’ time involved managing a leaking catheter, constipation, severe shingles across his lower back and front waist. He also had to cope with incontinence, though this was brought under control with pelvic floor exercises.
The ilium cancer treatment commenced in May 2017 comprising 34 radiation treatments, one daily, except weekends. He also has Lucrin injections, and these have made him very tired.
Blood tests every four months have continued to show an undetectable PSA.
“Overall things are going quite well, and I must say I have not suffered a lot of symptoms that others have endured, so I consider myself very lucky.”
Ken plays golf competitively with both the RSL and East Geelong Golf Clubs. During his recovery, Ken won the Summer Cup golf competition. He walks daily with Karen, and they both enjoy travel. Most recently they have been to Russia, France and Holland. Ken is a past President of Probus, has been in office every year since joining seven years ago. He currently arranges speakers for their monthly meetings.