Richard's impressive recovery

Richard shares his experience following his robotic prostate surgery

Richards prostate surgery.jpg

Richard, a Consultant in Arts Leadership, comes from a large family, with two brothers close in age to him; a further three brothers and a sister. When Richard’s younger brother, who was 55 at the time, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in Autumn 2021, it prompted Richard, now 62, to book a prostate screening appointment for himself. A few weeks later, Richard was also diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Fortunately, Richard’s cancer was diagnosed at an early stage, and robotic surgery was recommended as the best treatment approach. Here, we share Richard’s story, why he chose The Christie Private Care, part of HCA Healthcare UK, for his treatment, and how he is doing following surgery.

When his brother was diagnosed with prostate cancer Richard was shocked, and having also lost their father to the same cancer, he decided to have some screening tests himself. This is because some prostate cancers are related to an inherited genetic risk. This means that if your father or brother has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you may be at an increased risk of developing it yourself.

Richard was keen to get checked and booked himself a screening appointment, he shares:

"When my brother delivered that news, I was shocked, as he didn’t have any symptoms or think anything was wrong. Knowing that prostate cancer can have a hereditary risk, and this being compounded by the fact that my father had died from prostate cancer, me and my other brother (67) decided to get ourselves checked."

The importance of getting yourself tested

The first step for Richard was getting a PSA blood test, which is a test that checks the levels of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) in your blood; although PSA levels naturally rise with age, high levels can be an indication of prostate cancer.

When Richard had his first PSA test at his GP surgery in November 2021 his levels were low, but given his family history it was recommended that he have a another test the following month to see if there was any rise. When he returned a month later his PSA levels were elevated and his GP suggested that he be referred to a specialist for further tests.

Richard knew that he wanted to have these tests at The Christie Private Care, part of HCA Healthcare UK, he said: "My wife was successfully treated for skin cancer at The Christie over a decade ago and I was completely bowled over by the care she received and how amazing the place was, so I knew I would be in safe hands there."

Richard decided to book a consultation with Mr Vijay Ramani, Consultant Urological Surgeon. After an initial consultation with Mr Ramani Richard had an MRI scan. He got his results on the same day, which showed a shadow that needed further investigation. A biopsy confirmed that Richard did have early stage prostate cancer.

Richard says: "Whilst I had no obvious signs and symptoms of prostate cancer, knowing my family history and what my brother was going through, I was expecting that diagnosis, however that still didn’t take away from the seriousness of it all."

Gaining clarity on his treatment options

After his diagnosis Richard had a further consultation with Mr Ramani to review his treatment options. Mr Ramani recommended a procedure called a radical prostatectomy – where the prostate is removed. This is a highly effective procedure for localised prostate cancer, which has not spread beyond the prostate gland. This procedure could be carried out robotically using the very latest da Vinci Xi surgical system, which would be a less invasive type of surgery with quicker recovery times. Mr Ramani also advised Richard that there were other treatment options available and encouraged him to explore these with one of his colleagues, a medical oncologist. That way Richard could make an informed decision about which treatment he wanted to go ahead with.

Richard reflects: "I appreciated that Mr Ramani didn’t just want me to take his words as gospel, but to investigate my options and be certain with my choice. I spoke with a Medical Oncologist at The Christie Private Care about brachytherapy, which is a type of internal radiotherapy, as an alternative treatment option. However, I ultimately decided that the best route for me would be to undergo a robotic prostatectomy as Mr Ramani had suggested, as I wanted to remove the entire prostate, for me that equalled getting rid of the problem completely."

Successful surgery and a short recovery time

Richard’s robotic prostatectomy was successful, and after one night’s stay in hospital he was well enough to go home with a catheter. A week later Richard returned to The Christie Private Care to have his catheter removed. A short hospital stay and reduced recovery time is one of the primary benefits of robotic-assisted surgery – the incision is much smaller and therefore the wound heals much quicker.

On his recovery and how he’s doing now, Richard added: "I cannot believe how quickly I recovered from my surgery. Dionne, my Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) spoke to me before undergoing the surgery on what my recovery would look like and what to expect from a urinary and erectile function perspective, and I couldn’t have been happier with the recovery. Only a few months on from surgery and I am pretty much back to how I was before."

Now that his treatment has finished, Richard will still attend regular screening appointments to have his PSA monitored for any changes. He will also be seeing a Consultant Geneticist at The Christie Private Care to understand more about his genetic profile and hereditary risk.

On what advice he would give to other men Richard says: "It’s so important that men attend their regular screening appointments and don’t assume that if they don’t have symptoms that they don’t need to attend. I had no symptoms and yet I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Because I went to that screening appointment and got tested, I was diagnosed when my cancer was at an early stage and could be successfully treated. Now I can go back to living my life. Being diagnosed early really can save lives."

To find out more about prostate cancer risk, signs and symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, visit our information hub

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.