My Prostate Cancer Story


This is my story of being diagnosed and treated for cancer in 2022. The aim of writing this is to raise awareness of prostate cancer and maybe help someone else who may be facing the same challenge as me.

For those of you who do not know me, bit of background. My name is Andrew and I am 47years old and have lived in the UK all my life and have had a great career in a number of different roles. Health wise I have never had any serious problems, no broken bones, no operations. Only one hospital stay when I was 12, when I got pneumonia but recovered from that without any lasting effects. So, all in all a fairly healthy guy, never going to run a marathon but my height, weight are ok. I don’t drink much or smoke (used to 20 years ago as a youth) and try to watch what I eat.

First Symptoms

Back in mid-2021 I contacted my GP as I had started to notice a change to the way I was going for a wee. The stream of urine had become weaker and I found that the urge to go to the loo was coming on all of a sudden. When I had been and urinated, it was only a few mins later I was feeling like I needed to go again. At first I just put this down to getting a bit older, always hear that as you get older you need to get up in the night more than once for a wee. But the change was happening pretty quickly, so after a few months of this I decided to go to my GP. Unfortunately, it was right in the middle of a lockdown, so I had a telephone consultation with a doctor at my GPS surgery who arranged to have a blood test. Off I went to the Hospital for a blood test and 10 days later arranged another telephone call with a doctor for the results.

My PSA was slightly elevated at a reading of 2.8. But nothing to worry about at that level at my young age. Doctor thought it may have been an infection or just psychological, and to see if things cleared up over the next few months.

By late 2021 things had not really improved and were getting steadily worse. In October 2021 I had a full health check-up. This was paid for privately by my work but it tested everything possible including Blood Pressure, Total Cholesterol, Lipid Profile, Liver function, Cardiovascular Disease Risk, ECG stress test, Fasting Glucose, Kidneys and many more tests.

The results all told me what I already knew, whilst nothing was in the red! My general health could have been better. My cholesterol was a bit high, my blood pressure was a bit high. Basically like all my school reports “Could do better! ”

However, because the ongoing issues with urinating were still present, I was referred to see a Urology Consultant.

I am fortunate in that I have private medical insurance through my work so I was able to book and see a consultant within a few days at my local private hospital. The first consultation was to discuss the symptoms and I was sent for another PSA Blood test to check if that had come down from the previous 2.8 level taken 6 months prior.

I was also prescribed some medication which it was hoped would help with the symptoms when urinating with a weak flow. That unfortunately didn’t have any real effect, other than making me pass out on the second day as a side effect is to drop your blood pressure.

Another blood test was taken to see what the PSA was doing, this showed it had gone up from 2.8 in June 2021 to 3.53 so this was definitely something we needed to monitor.

I was also booked in for a range of tests to see how my bladder was emptying. This is fairly simple test, you pee into a container on a set of scales which measures how quickly you empty your bladder and then an ultrasound is taken to see if there is any urine left in your bladder after going for a wee.

The normal flow rate is about 20ml/second. But mine was below 10ml/sec and I was not emptying my bladder. So, there was something going on.

The next test was one of the more unpleasant tests, but it was completed in under a minute or two. I had to have a Flexible Cystoscopy, which is a long tube with a camera in the end which is passed into the bladder. Yes, there is only one way into the bladder! As I say whilst it was unpleasant it was over with in a very short space of time 60-90 seconds. But this helped to show that one of the proposed treatments was not suitable.

I was also booked in for an MRI of the prostate to see the size of my prostate. As most men get older the prostate tends to enlarge, this can cause some of the issues described and is known as BPH or Benign Prostate Hyperplasia. It can cause issues going for a wee, put pressure on the bladder meaning you need a wee more often and can cause issues with the kidneys. There are lots of good treatments for this from a simple pill to surgery where some staples are placed inside to open the tube from the bladder.  It can be caused by a simple infection that just need a course of Anti-biotics.

MRI Scan to work out PSA Density

The MRI is a big noisy machine which you lay down inside of it for about 45 mins, you get some headphones and listen to some nice music. To be honest I think I nodded off whilst I was in the scanner, so it was certainly nothing to worry about. I did have a canular placed in the back of my hand so that a dye could be injected to help with the contrast of the image.

The results took a few days to come back, and I arranged another appointment with my consultant. The good news was that my prostate was normally sized and whilst there were no definitive signs of cancer on the scan. The findings were more in line with an infection called prostatitis, which can also be the cause of a raised PSA level.

It was now November 2021 and a few months had passed since my last PSA. So it was agreed that one more PSA blood test should be done to check if there was an infection it had passed and the PSA was returning to normal.

Unfortunately, that was not the case, the PSA was now at 3.83.

Now that we knew the actual size of the prostate my consultant was able to calculate what is called the PSA density. That is how concentrated is the PSA in the gland. Because if the prostate was large then a level of 10 or more would not be unusual.

However, at 22CM and a level of 3.83 my PSA density at 0.17 was considered high. I discussed the options with my consultant.

We could wait for 6 months to see if the PSA has come down again, or we could move up the scale and have a Prostate Biopsy.

I decided to go away and have a think about this.


Now a Prostate Biopsy is a surgical procedure that is done, in my case, under a general anaesthesia. The process is that 20-30 needle samples are taken from the prostate. The needles are inserted in the perineal (that’s the bit between your scrotum and anus) and it can leave you with some pain for a few days.

After a few days I decided that after 3 blood tests, 9 months apart, the levels were only going in one direction and a biopsy was probably the best option.

I was booked in and went into hospital for the biopsy on the 28th Feb 2022. Having never had surgery I was fairly nervous of the whole process. I need not of worried the staff were amazing and when I went down to the theatre I was out before I was even given the chance to count backwards from 10. All I remember was the anaesthetist saying “Here comes the good stuff”. Then 2 seconds later “Wake up Andrew its all over”

I was sent back to my room and a few hours later after I had eaten some toast and had a cuppa tea was sent home the same day.

I had very little pain or discomfort, just a few days of mild discomfort when sitting. Nothing some paracetamol couldn’t take care of.

It took a couple of weeks before the results were ready and I was able to see my consultant again. As I had been pumped full of antibiotics during the procedure and during those 2 weeks my symptoms had got significantly better.

As I walked to the hospital I was pretty convinced I was going to be told everything was ok, it was just an infection and the antibiotics had cleared it all up. But it didn’t pan out that way.

Friday the 18th

It wasn’t Friday the 13th but the news I received that day means it felt like one. That was the day I was told that the biopsy had found cancer. There was a lot more information provided to me that day but didn’t really take any of that in once it had been confirmed it was cancer. I was sent home with a huge bunch of reading materials on the possible treatments and given some time to reflect on possible ways forward.

The next few days were spent doing a lot of research. Stats, stages, treatments, outcomes, life expectance and of course talking to family about the results.

It certainly wasn’t the best weekend!

Next, I had to find a surgeon who specialised in treating prostate cancer. I found a surgeon called Mr Laniado. His patient reviews were all very positive and I arrange to see him at the end of March.

We discussed my history and discussed the possible treatments.  I am not going to go list what each of them are, lots of information on the Prostate Cancer UK website if you want to read that.

After taking some time to review all the possible options including Ablation, HIFU and removal via surgery. I elected to have the surgery.

Mr Laniado is one of the few surgeons in the UK who performs Reztius Sparing, Nerve Sparing, Robotically assisted Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy’s.

Now lets just break that down.

Reztius Sparing, meaning that rather than detach the bladder from the abdomen wall, he gets to the prostate behind the bladder. This reduces the risk of long-term incontinence.

Nerve Sparing, the nerves that are attached to the prostate are primarily responsible for controlling erections. Something I was keen to keep!

Robot Assisted Laparoscopic, Using the DaVinci surgery robot and using 6 small keyhole incisions means recover time is much shorter.

Radical Prostatectomy, the complete removal of the prostate meaning that even if there was more cancer lurking around in the prostate it would be removed so has no chance of coming back.

Davinci robot


Once I had started to get all the facts around possible treatments available and the very good outcomes that are now achieved, I was able to focus on the next steps.

There are several ways in which cancer is classified but the Gleason score is used globally. It’s made up of two numbers to get a score. Mine was a 3 + 4 = 7 score meaning an intermediate risk cancer.

This gave me 4 main options for going forwards.

  1. Active watch, meaning you just have regular check-ups to see how aggressive the cancer is/isn’t growing. With the early diagnosis and Gleason score I personally didn’t want to do nothing so discounted this option.
  2. External Beam Radiotherapy, I decided early on this was not for me at my younger age and early stage diagnosis
  3. Permanent seed brachytherapy, where a small rice grain sized radioactive pellet is injected into the tumour. Again, for me this didn’t sound like the right option.
  4. Surgical intervention. There are a number of surgical options available, and I wanted to find out more about them.


I was booked into the Princess Grade Hospital in London at the end of April for 3 days to have the surgery.

I arrived early on Saturday Morning and was settled into my room before completing a large amount of paperwork and was prepped ready for the surgery which was scheduled for after lunch.

I was given an enema, which doesn’t take long to work, trust me!

When the time came I went off to surgery, before I was given the general I had an epidural injection. This completely numbs you from the waste down. Meaning that they can use a lower level of general anaesthesia during the operation, plus less pain relief is needed when its over.

It was a painless procedure but one that started to work instantly and I had to be helped to swing my legs up onto the table. Once again before I could even think about being put to sleep I was in recovery room!

The operation lasted 4.5 hours, and I woke up in the recovery room to be told everything had gone well. They kept me there for about an hour before sending me back to my room.

I had no pain to mention, but I was still completely numb from the waste down.

I had several tubes coming out of my abdomen, I have been catheterised, twice. Once through the penis and once just below the belly button. I had a surgical drain and several dressings over the other 5 key hole sized wounds.

I slept on and off for a few hours and was able to facetime family to let them know I was feeling ok.

The next day two of the tubes were removed, the surgical drain and one of the catheters were removed. I still had the catheter just below the belly button, which would remain in place for 7-10 days.

I was encouraged to get up and walk about taking a few steps around the bed in the afternoon, I got out of bed to sit in the chair for my dinner that evening.(food was amazing)

After a good night’s sleep I was up the next day and doing laps of the ward after breakfast. (Which was also amazing)

The nurse had told me that they were expecting to discharge me that afternoon, I was given instructions on how to care for my wounds, changing the dressings daily. As well as looking after the suprapubic catheter. I was booked into the clinic in 10 days time to have the staples removed as well as the catheter.

I went home with a bag of medical supplies, pain killers, dressings, and everything else I would need to help my recovery.


Other than paracetamol, which I was taking every 4 hours. I did not need any pain relief and in all honesty other than a bit of discomfort when moving in and out of a chair I had no pain at all.

Recovery over the 10 days went well and I returned to the clinic in London on the train on day 10 to have the last tube and staples removed. Now that was the only part that hurt! Well it stung a little that was all having the staples taken out.

The catheter came out easily and after an hour of drinking water I was urinating again as normal.

I travelled back home again on the train. I was given some male pant liners to use in case of any incontinence which was one of the risks of surgery. But I am happy to report that I suffered no incontinence at all. I had been doing the pelvic floor exercises for a month before surgery, every day 3 times a day which I think helped. Along with the skill of the surgeon using the Retzius sparing technique.

Over the next month, my recovery went a bit better every day. I was able to get out and do a little bit more walking each day. Of course, there is no lifting, so no housework for the first 2 months so I had to take it easy. My body told me when I was doing too much as I would find myself sleeping all afternoon on the sofa if I did.

3 months after the surgery I went for a PSA blood test, as long as all the cancer had been removed and there was no other prostate cancer then the reading should be zero. Few days later the news came that it was in fact undetectable and that I was in full remission from cancer!

Now I will just have to have a blood test every 6 months for the next 3 years to check nothing untoward has reoccurred and I can carry on with life.

If anyone has any questions they want to ask me, please feel free to get in touch. If I can offer any advice or support I will.

If you are able to and willing my Just giving page is being donated to ProstateCancer UK.

Andrew Brown is fundraising for PROSTATE CANCER UK (


Andrew (M0ONH)


  1. REPLY
    comment Dave (2D0HXL) says

    Thanks for sharing your story Andrew.

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