Read John’s Story
In my early 40’s, I asked my family doctor if I should be checked for prostate cancer because my grandfather died of prostate cancer. My doctor told me to wait until I turned 50. When my doctor retired, I was 46 and obtained a new family doctor. When my new doctor asked for a family history of cancer, I told him about my grandfather. My new doctor was surprised that I never had my Prostate Specific Antigen, or PSA, checked and stated that I should have had it checked at the age of 40 since my grandfather died of prostate cancer.
I went for a PSA check soon after that. My PSA was 12 and the doctor said, “You could have prostate cancer!”. As scared as I was, I just thought to myself “I’m only 46, my grandfather was in his 70’s – I’m too young!”
I was referred to a Urologist who said I was fine, and he recommended that I return in six months for another PSA test to see if there was any change. I felt relieved.
Six months later, my PSA was 22. I started to worry but my Urologist said, “I have lots of patients whose PSA numbers are between 20 and 30 and they don’t have cancer”. He told me to come back in three months and if it goes up again, he would do a biopsy. I was terrified, but I thought that since he dealt with this every day, he knew best. When I went back for my third PSA test, it was at 25. He then booked me for a biopsy. (Later I learned that a PSA of over 4 is a sign that something could be wrong.)
The biopsy showed that I had prostate cancer. After the Urologist called and asked me to come in to discuss treatment, I was terrified, and then I started to get really angry because I knew that chances are better if cancer is caught early.
A great friend of mine who also had prostate cancer suggested that I get a referral to the Cancer Clinic in London.
I asked to be referred to Dr. Chin. By the time I had my first appointment at the Cancer Clinic, Dr. Chin said that I should have been referred a year ago. Out of all the options presented, I chose to participate in a clinical trial which included 18 weeks of chemotherapy, hormone therapy then a radical prostatectomy. Now, I have been cancer free for 10 years. I owe the success to DR. Chin and his amazing team, chemotherapy nurses, urology, volunteers, and staff and all those who remain nameless at LHSC.
After going through this ordeal, I decided it was important to start a support group in my community to help men who are going through the same experience. Currently we have 3 prostate cancer support groups London, Wallaceburg and Sarnia.
I’m also in Dash for Dad committee to raise funds for prostate cancer research.