59-year-old Ipswich local Paul Cahill is sadly no stranger to cancer. With a strong family history of prostate cancer, he knows all too well the devastating nature of a cancer diagnosis. 25 years ago Paul’s uncle died from aggressive prostate cancer, followed by his father who passed away with non-aggressive prostate cancer. With this in mind, receiving a kidney cancer diagnosis in 2016 came as a shock.
In a very lucky accident, a chance doctor’s appointment found a sign that something wasn’t right. When seeing a new doctor for his yearly check-up, Paul confessed he had been going to the bathroom four or five times throughout the night. After being referred for a urinary ultrasound which found a lump on his kidney, Paul faced a whirlwind of tests, scans and treatment.
“It was all a bit of a rush from there. I received a partial nephrectomy of my kidney in the hospital and was lucky that I didn’t need chemotherapy or anything. I took a few weeks off work and then everything was pretty much back to normal,” Paul said.
Paul spent the next few years cherishing life with his friends and family, thankful that he had overcome such a shocking diagnosis. However, in a devastating turn of events, this year’s annual check-up brought another diagnosis – prostate cancer.
“From the age of 50 I’ve also made sure to get an annual blood test. This year, my blood test returned a high PSA reading for the first time. The doctor said they would monitor it, but after seeing a urologist and receiving some further tests I was told I have a very aggressive form of prostate cancer. Then a PET scan found that the cancer had spread into my pelvis.”
“The news really hit me hard. With how advanced my prostate cancer was, I was told if I didn’t receive treatment I would only have 18 months to two years left. At 59, I’ve learned a lot of things that I never thought I would need to know. This has been a fight from day one, with CT scans, MRIs, surgery, biopsies and radiation therapy to name a few. It’s been a very different road than when I had kidney cancer.”
As the secondary tumours in Paul’s pelvis were very small, he was able to receive cutting-edge stereotactic radiation therapy treatment for his advanced cancer following hormone therapy and surgery to remove his prostate. Stereotactic radiation therapy delivers radiation to individual tumours with pinpoint precision, ensuring safe and effective treatment directly to the tumour, while minimising radiation to surrounding organs and reducing side effects such as bowel and bladder irritation. Paul was the first patient at Icon Cancer Centre Springfield to receive this new treatment technique and has had three sessions of radiation to his pelvis in less than two weeks.