As Movember comes to an end, JOE speaks to two men about their battle with prostate cancer
Movember is drawing to a close.
Men across Ireland are getting their razors ready, soon to shave off the itchy caterpillars currently resting on their upper-lips.
But for those who are battling the cruel disease of cancer, the awareness that we feel so acutely throughout November never goes away.
JOE was lucky enough to receive the testimony of two men who have battled prostate cancer, and we'd like to share those testimonies with you now.
Tom Molloy (Ashbourne, Co.Meath)
“I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, at the age of 43, while having routine blood tests for recently diagnosed hypertension. Among the test results was an abnormally high PSA level, which can be an early indicator of prostate cancer, among other things.
A biopsy confirmed the diagnosis and that my cancer was both very advanced and very aggressive. The initial test results and a bad family history with cancer caused me to believe I would more than likely die from the disease in the not-too-distant future. My daughter was six at the time and I had a mental image in my head of her at my funeral and growing up without me.
Due the seriousness of my test results, treatment was swift and decisive and I underwent surgery to remove my prostate gland. Despite the severity of the initial test results, I pulled through and four years later life has been transformed. I now stop to smell the roses and appreciate what is really important.
I was extremely lucky that my cancer was diagnosed - by a fluke - when it was. If it was found any later, the outcome might have been very different, showing how important it is to have regular check-ups with your GP."
John Monaghan (Leixlip, Co.Kildare)
“I was aged 66 in 2011 when I was getting an annual medical examination, a requirement for the renewal for my student private licence. The blood test showed that my PSA levels had quadrupled in four months. In July 2011, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
I underwent robotic surgery to remove my prostate and then further surgery to fit an artificial male sphincter to cure incontinence. I also underwent 7 weeks of daily radiotherapy in May/June 2013 and in July 2014 I started on three-monthly hormone therapy injections to control cancer cell activity.
Throughout my treatment, I was able to continue work as a Lecturer in Trinity College, to drive and I also got my private pilot’s license! I’d encourage men of all ages to have regular check-ups with their GP, because I had no prior symptoms and you really do need to take prompt action if you notice anything unusual.
But above all if you do get a diagnosis of prostate cancer try to remember it’s just that – a diagnosis – it’s not a death sentence because prostate cancer is rapidly becoming a chronic, not a fatal disease and over 90% who are diagnosed with prostate cancer go on to live active and full lives.”
Anyone who wants to learn more about prostate cancer should visit www.cancer.ie/prostate.