Patient Q&A: Jim Irving

This is a story from an patient with prostate cancer in the UK, US experiences may differ.

If you have been affected by prostate cancer and want to share your story, please email [email protected] or click here for more information.

Would you like to tell us about your initial diagnosis and treatment?

I am 78 years old and was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in August 2018, without having had any of the conventional urinary tract symptoms. A chance X-ray to investigate back pain when I played golf led my GP in Cheltenham to diagnose that metastases had already developed in my bones, which was confirmed by a whole nuclear body scan, biopsy and PSA test (1,970 score).

I am particularly concerned that I was not diagnosed earlier by routine testing as I have been submitting samples to the NHS Bowel Cancer Scheme for 15 or more years without any problems. Why not early prostate cancer testing, too, which seems to depend on the whims of the local GPs and clinics?

I have been on a full course of chemotherapy treatment at Cheltenham Oncology Centre since October 2018 and am having three-monthly injections of Prostap hormone.

I would like to add my appreciation of the treatment and support I have received from the Cheltenham Oncology Centre.


Have you had support?

I have had wonderful support from family and friends, especially over the Christmas period when I had visits to the house from relatives and golfing partners, which gave a terrific fillip to our social lives. The unpleasant day-to-day side effects of chemotherapy were alleviated as they arose by the oncology specialists and with the advice and encouragement of previously unknown fellow sufferers or their friends.


What motivates you to do so much charity work?

My main motivation for charitable contributions is to help others in some way, even if I cannot do this directly by working in the field. The case for early diagnosis of breast cancer is well publicized and I am a little disappointed that we don’t have routine testing for prostate cancer that is as reliable. As more people now die from prostate cancer than breast cancer, I would like to see more funding go into prostate cancer research.


Is there anything else you would like to share about your patient journey so far?

I am finding the present period following chemotherapy a little daunting as it is in sharp contrast to the regular care and attention one receives while being treated. Recovery is not quick, nor without medical complications. I am following up on the Macmillan Next Steps program and hope this will make future milestones of rehabilitation clearer.

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