Being diagnosed with Prostate Cancer was traumatic enough, getting the call from my doctor who confirmed that I needed to see a specialist as my PSA level was 10.5 and higher than it should be.
The consultant described 4 ways of treating prostate cancer. In my case it was Radical Prostatectomy that the consultant recommended. I asked why he wanted me to undergo surgery. His reply was quite simple “it’s what I specialise in”! He did not mention any side effects, but he did suggest that before I made my mind up that I do some research and speak to other specialists about their areas of treatment.
So I started to do my own research and discovered that the suggested treatment options carried some horrendous side effects. In the case of surgery, men who opted for this option would suffer from Erectile Dysfunction plus bladder and bowel disorders, potentially for the rest of their lives.
In my research I learnt about Proton Therapy that has been used in the US for over 20 years. The results are effective, however the main difference that there are NO SIDE EFFECTS. I phoned several US institutes that offer Proton Therapy, and learnt that their success rates is 95%–98%.
The stumbling block was the costs and time. Prices varied from around $100,000– $150,000 and would take up to 3 months.
PROTON THERAPY IN PRAGUE – SIMPLY THE BEST DECISION I HAVE EVER MADE AND MONEY WELL SPENT
During this time I was still tracking the Ashya King story. And it was here that provided the answer.
Whilst reading about the King family’s search for a treatment, I read that they too had discovered Proton Therapy. And what’s more the treatment was 2 hours flying time from London to Prague. I did more research into the technology available in Prague’s Proton Therapy Centre (PTC). It made sense to me that a facility that could treat a brain tumour as in the case of Ashya King, should be able to treat my prostate cancer.
So I called the PTC which has a special division PT UK for the British patients. From that moment onwards life took on a more positive outlook. I spoke with a knowledgeable and caring member of the PT UK team, Brooke, who explained what I needed to do next.
Within a week I met a PTC consultant who was able to tell me about all the treatments available and their various side effects.
This was what I had been looking for, a real specialist who could talk clearly and simply give me all the options. He explained that Proton Therapy is painless, highly accurate with minimal chance of side effects and would take between 5 and 21 days.
The price quoted ranged between £16k to £31k depending of the length of treatment and even included help with accommodation and travel. The treatment, started with new MRI and CT scans plus blood tests.
All this was done to confirm the status of the tumour. I was assigned a knowledgeable patient liaison manager, Kateřina, who looked after me during my entire treatment and was on call 24/7. Treatment sessions lasted about 15 minutes every other day over a 10 day period. After which we enjoyed the City of Prague, and generally had a wonderful time. Six months on, I have no side effects and having returned to the UK, frequently receive calls from the PTC asking me how I am. My answer is, I feel healthy and positive.
It was simply the best decision I have ever made and money well spent.