Chris Stone was a 66-year-old physically active, semi-retired senior banking executive when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in early February 2017.
It was picked up during an annual private health check that indicated his PSA (prostate specific antigen) level had jumped from 3.5 to 5.4 in one year.
“I didn’t have any symptoms and felt fine. In fact, I go to the gym three times a week and play golf to a reasonable standard two or three times a week, so it came as a bit of a shock when my GP immediately put me on a two-week-referral to Frimley Park Hospital.”
A very rapid examination and subsequent diagnosis in early March 2017 confirmed three cancerous tumours, but also that the cancer had not spread beyond the prostate.
“Following diagnosis, I was given some very good material on treatment options,” Chris says. “Despite my initial preference for radiotherapy, I was eligible for brachytherapy which was the treatment I ended up choosing. It was less intrusive and totally concentrated on the tumours.”
“Brachytherapy suited my own assessment of my condition. I am quite fit and have no problems with general anaesthetic. The seeds are sown next to the tumours giving 24-hour radiation to kill the tumours without intruding whatsoever on my normal life. Side effects have been almost non-existent.”
On 27th April, Chris received the brachytherapy procedure at the Royal Surrey County Hospital by Professor Stephen Langley after enjoying a planned city break to Berlin. “I was admitted at 7am and discharged by 3pm, and on the golf course at 10am the next morning for an 18-hole round,” he says.
“The procedure was really unobtrusive to me and my functions returned to normal very quickly. For the first 24 hours, urinating was a little difficult, but not painful. I have had no problems with incontinence, though Tamulosin did help for the first six months. First ejaculations were a little bloody but again, this soon returned to normal. I was prescribed Viagra but have never needed to use it.”
Chris is a big advocate of brachytherapy. “I would 100 per cent recommend brachytherapy to all those to whom it is applicable. Who wants their prostate removed? Why would you have radiotherapy on a regular basis when radioactive seeds do the same thing 24/7 without any side effects. I never knew I had a problem and hardly felt I had a cure.”
In fact Chris’ recovery is such that he’s now out of retirement after being head hunted back to London to join a fast growing commercial foreign currency brokerage by the Bank of England. “My partner works and I find the cut and thrust of commercial trading very stimulating so will commit for a few more years and help this young company grow,” he says.
Chris is keen to make men aware of the importance of getting themselves checked early and regularly. “I was captain of my golf club, Camberley Heath in Surrey, and in 2012 my record charitable fund was given to Frimley Park Hospital for research into less intrusive and better diagnosis of prostate cancer in men. Little did I know it would affect me, but since that time I have been happy to spread the message and get people checked - including my brothers,” he concludes.