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Patient stories / 13 Oct, 2019

Taking control of prostate cancer

Icon Writers

How Peter took his health into his own hands at Icon

For Peter Ryall, the prospect of prostate cancer is something he knew only too well. One of Peter’s family members didn’t receive preventative testing, and was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, so Peter made the active decision to receive regular PSA tests to put his mind at ease.

Knowing he needed to put his health first, when a PSA test flagged abnormal results in May 2018 he jumped into action to get further tests. Just four months later he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

“I was told that if I’d waited six months, it would’ve been too late,” Peter said.

Conducting his own research into prostate cancer treatment and asking questions was something that was very important to Peter. After seeking a second opinion from a new GP, Peter was referred to a urologist at Icon Cancer Centre Midland via the Midland Prostate Clinic – a clinic designed to support prostate patients and provide convenient access to specialists and cancer support services.

Following an operation to remove his prostate and eleven lymph nodes that were affected by cancer, Peter’s urologist referred him to receive radiation therapy under the same roof at Icon Midland.

He says having a team he could trust at Icon made a world of difference.

“For many people, the places they go to, they don’t get all the assistance like at Icon,” Peter said.

“There’s a bigger picture than what you are sometimes told, so having an organisation that fills the whole story in from the start was great. When I was told I would need radiation therapy, my doctor explained it as a way to sweep the area to make sure the cancer is gone; clean it up before it gets a chance to spread. The way she explained everything made me feel really comfortable.”

As Peter was able to receive his radiation therapy in the same centre, he got to know the staff and often would get to the centre early to have a chat.

Peter credits the support services on offer at Icon in helping him to keep fit and stay as healthy as possible.

“I’ve been doing pelvic floor exercises for 30 years to reduce back pain. When I went into the Life Ready physiotherapy clinic at Icon, I was able to keep practicing my pelvic floor exercises to reduce any side effects from treatment.”

Peter is now receiving hormone therapy treatment, which he will complete in August 2020. Despite some setbacks during his earlier treatment, he looks back at it with a laugh and says it was “relatively easy”.

“I had no side effects from the radiation therapy, but I had a medication allergy in hospital, developed lymphoedema following surgery which made my stomach look like it was nine months pregnant, then after my 27th radiation therapy treatment I got Shingles!”

For Peter no setback was too big to overcome, and he finds comfort in being able to access the care he needed. Ultimately, he urges people to make sure they are getting the best treatment possible, and understand all their treatment options. He asks men to make their health a priority.

“I’m glad we did take control so we knew what we were doing. PSA checks need to be done whether you like it or not.”

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