Aidan lives in Wellington. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2015.
“In May 2015, as I was heading in my late 50’s, I went along to my doctor and asked for a PSA test. I knew I was more at risk of prostate cancer as I got older so I wanted to make sure everything was OK.”
A week later, I was told I had an advanced and aggressive prostate cancer- much worse than I had expected. My cancer had also spread to the nearby seminal vesicles. The first treatment I was given was hormone therapy- this started as daily tablets, and after about a month I had a Zoladex implant* in my abdomen. I’ll have three years of hormone treatment in all.
Before each session of radiotherapy I had to give myself an enema to empty my bowel, and then drink a certain amount of water. [The prostate will move depending on the fullness of the bladder and bowel, so this process ensures that the area needing treatment is in the same place each time]. I had to write my name and the time that I had finished drinking my water on a piece of paper, and the radiographers would use this to know when to call me in. I can remember other patients in the waiting room, who didn’t have prostate cancer, wondering what this was all about.
During radiotherapy, I needed to use the toilet more often, as healthy tissue in my bladder and bowel were affected by the treatment. I felt fatigue and experienced mood changes, hot sweats and feeling light headed. I was still able to do things I enjoyed- I play a lot of music, sometimes in public, and I continued to do this through my treatment.
Zoladex is a type of drug known as a luteinising hormone (LH) blocker. It can be given to both men and women as part of treatment for cancers and other conditions that are affected by the body’s production of hormones. In men, it slows down or stops the production of testosterone; this slows down the growth of prostate cancer or shrinks it.