“I will never forget the day when my dad called to tell me he had prostate cancer. Little did I know I would be telling my own three sons the same thing just a few years later. One of the hardest things about going through cancer is sharing the journey with your family. Thinking about how it might affect them if your life were to be cut short and pondering that life for them without you in it. It’s very easy to get deeply upset, the word cancer has been, in the past at least, so loaded with woe. I knew very little about prostate cancer when my dad first told me, I thought “oh shit - I wonder how long he’ll live” I didn’t even realise it was treatable. When I got my own diagnosis, what I also found out, was that all the treatments have really scary, potentially life altering side effects and that I would have to come to terms with my fears about those, in order to have any chance of beating the cancer and one day maybe even being cured.
My prostate cancer was diagnosed as a direct result of me getting involved with Movember when I launched a fundraiser on Facebook in response to dad getting through his radiation treatment. I said that if I raised £250 I’d get a prostate test. I did raise the money and I did get the test. That led to an MRI which had dark spots requiring further investigation, but I didn’t agree to a biopsy for a year. I went through a few years of hesitation, maybe even denial.
Even after my biopsy confirmed it was cancer and my numbers indicated treatment is recommended, after I met many specialists in the multiple options for treatment, I said I would prefer not to be treated and would rather be on what’s known as active surveillance which means close monitoring of your numbers. The doctors said this was not an advisable option, but my own research told me that my numbers were low enough to buy me some time. Maybe even avoid the treatment by stabilising the cancer. In many men it is a very slow growing cancer and therefore might not require treatment for five or ten years maybe longer. I hoped that a new treatment might be announced, one that had no side effects and that my decision would be made easy! That is why I went into overdrive also raising funds for Movember.
I called my incredible fundraising team of 2017 Lucky Luke & The Mo Bros and we raised over £35,000 and we were the number one fund raising team in the UK that year. In 2018 I ran the New York Marathon and raised another £11,000 with another incredible team of supporters. Today I’m a Movember Ambassador and up for raising awareness and any conversation about any aspect of men’s health 365 days of the year, not just the month of Mo.
Many guys come to me for advice and there are so many aspects and complications with prostate cancer that it can be quite mind blowing. But the important thing is not to lose sight of the fact that if caught early you do have options. I know now having had my treatment, that for me at least, the side effects are not as terrible as I had feared. Because I delayed in getting treatment, my numbers actually went up, which took some treatments off the option list for me so that is worth bearing considering when it comes to thinking about delaying treatment. Certainly, it was a factor I had not considered. In the end I opted for surgery, I had a fantastic surgeon who was able to spare the essential heavy lifting nerves and 18 months post op I can say things are looking up again, literally. Every man’s journey will be different in this regard, it’s such a uniquely presenting cancer, which is why it can be so daunting in making a decision. A decision which, by the way, is put solely on you, which is also quite mind blowing.
Ultimately, I have faith that Movember and the work it instigates with the money it raises will lead to much more efficient ways to tackle prostate cancer, but that won’t be tomorrow and my wife, my boys and all those who love me, I know would rather see me live for a few more tomorrows, than wait for a treatment that is yet to be invented.
So, the moral of my story is, be strong, have faith, you got this. You can take time to make your decision in a lot of cases. One thing is certain though and that is the earlier you get on to it the better, because that will mean that the sooner you can work out what to do. Peace & love - Lucky Luke xx”