‘Months of anxiety’: ex-counsellor reveals toll of prostate cancer screening tests
A retired counselor says he endured 18 months of anxiety before being declared free of prostate cancer.
Richard Westlake, 74, was first alerted in November 2015 that his nightly trips to the toilet could be a sign of the disease, combined with a prostate-specific antigen test.
Mr Westlake, from Exeter, then faced months of hospital visits, first for a biopsy and then for a more invasive biopsy procedure, as well as X-rays and a combination of other tests, each followed by an anxious wait for the result.
The retired Devon County councilor and train driver was finally given the all clear in June 2017 after a second biopsy.
“To be honest, I was quite surprised,” he said of the result.
“I was expecting it to be positive this whole time. But I wasn’t partying – I had been through a very difficult time, with all this hardship, waiting, inconvenience and anxiety.
“I knew it had to be done, and all the staff I encountered were brilliant, but it was a horrible, drawn-out experience.
“Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men, and you think of all the hours of NHS time and resources spent on these tests.
“If this new way of assessing patients could reduce the number of men who have to experience it, I think it would have huge benefits, both for patients and for the NHS.”