Tony is 68 years old. He commenced his career as an electrician on an apprenticeship with the then Victorian Railways. Tony went on to work for Alcoa spending 13 years at Anglesea and 19 years at Point Henry. He took a retirement package in 2013 and now describes himself as being a self-employed and semi-retired electrician. Tony had a PSA blood test in 2013; it was less than 4.
Four years ago, in 2015, Tony became aware that he had prostate cancer. At the time he saw his doctor regarding abdominal bloating and gastric concerns.
As part of the process of assessing Tony’s health his doctor arranged for a number of blood tests, and one of these was for PSA – it was 43. His doctor undertook a DRE, but this didn’t indicate anything unusual.
Like many men Tony had no knowledge of PSA, but because of that reading his doctor referred him to a urologist in November 2015. Whist another DRE still showed nothing of concern, another blood test showed Tony’s PSA to have risen to 85. Another test in December saw his PSA increase to 135.
A biopsy of the prostate would normally have been performed, but this wasn’t possible until an anal ulcer had been cleared up with draining and antibiotics. By January 2016 Tony’s PSA had risen to 180. The urologist ordered a CT Scan and this indicated lymph node enlargement. A Bone Scan showed some cancer in the rib bone.
Later in January the biopsy was done. Tony was told that he had advanced prostate cancer with a Gleason score of 7. He was also advised that there would be no point having a radical prostatectomy. Instead in February he would commence Hormone Deprivation Treatment (HDT) which would involve an injection of Eligard every four months.
Tony was also advised of a trial being conducted at the Andrew Love Centre which involved the HDT drug Enzamet (Enzalutamide) with four tablets taken daily. Signing on to the trial also required Tony to have six treatments of chemotherapy, each a month apart. This trial is still on-going and Tony attends the Andrew Love Centre every 3 months.
The first of the chemo treatments was in March 2016. He experienced tingling in his feet, “I had a lot of trouble with that.” A blood test this month showed Tony’s PSA to have dropped to 8. After the third chemo treatment Tony describes some of the side effects “… lips and feet were tingling with stomach upsets, hemorrhoids that made it very difficult to walk or go to the toilet, with low immunity….I went to the Casualty Department of the hospital, was admitted and remained in the oncology ward for the next four days.” By April 2016 his PSA was 3.15.
By February 2017 Tony’s PSA was 0.9. The trial is on-going, though the chemo treatments are now concluded. Since February 2018 blood testing has continued to show Tony’s PSA as being undetectable. He continues to have to put up with the hot flushes and feet issues.
Tony first became aware of the Geelong Prostate Support Group when he was researching the prostate. The Group’s name came up in search results, along with details of when and where it met “… so I thought I’d come along.” Tony attends meetings when he can. “I’d recommend it to anyone; there you realise that you’re not alone.”