Michael Snell – my prostate cancer

My name is Michael Snell. I am 66, my brief history is as follows: internal examinations carried out by my GP to check the prostate, August 2009 and March 2010 two relative blood tests showed a rising PSA from 5.2 ng/ml (August) to 6.4 ng/ml (March). I was then referred to my GP to see a urologist; he detected a nodule on my prostate, requiring a biopsy. This initial route was through the NHS system with waiting times quoted of three weeks for a biopsy and a three week wait for the results, so in total a minimum of six weeks from nodule detection. As many of you may be aware, that time can be, and is, an important factor in relation to this condition – tumour location, contained within the prostate, as mine was, is treatable. However, the anxiety, worry and waiting for dates and results can be distressing, with thoughts of “has the tumour spread to the outside”?

So, I concluded, as a matter of urgency, to go for the private route. But, where do you go for the best available treatment? Who do you go to? How good is the surgeon, bearing in mind there will be collateral damage, bladder incontinence, and temporary or even permanent loss of sexual function? I wanted the best surgeon who would minimise these side effects. Fate was on my side – by a magical stroke of luck, a close associate of mine has a friend who is a doctor, and by strange coincidence he was treated at The Prostate Centre by Professor Roger Kirby, whom he described to me as (his exact words) “The best in the world”. At my request he prepared a letter of referral, and an appointment was made for me to see Prof Kirby. Crossing the threshold of The Prostate Centre, 32 Wimpole Street, I knew I was in the right place. Meeting Prof Kirby and the rest of the team provided further reassurance. Following all the tests, which were taken within two days of my appointment with Prof Kirby, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent a robotic radical prostatectomy, carried out at The London Clinic on 29th June 2010.

Fast forward one year: the operation was a complete success with remarkable speed of recovery and no incontinence from the third day of week one, and sexual function improving all the time without medical aid. Any worry is now thankfully in the past. Prof Kirby has long become “Roger”, as well as first name terms with all of the team. I am past the 4 x 3 monthly check ups one year on, and now on to six-monthly reviews. This is all thanks initially to Dr John Kelynak for his help and invaluable recommendation, but more so to Roger and the Prostate Centre for the excellent care and attention received from one and all throughout my ordeal. A very human place, I can never thank them enough.

Eternal gratitude.