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Interview 25

Age at interview: 61
Age at diagnosis: 61
Brief Outline: Diagnosed with prostate cancer 2000. External beam radiation and short hormone treatment.
Background:

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Explains that it is more embarrassing and unpleasant than painful.

Explains that it is more embarrassing and unpleasant than painful.

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You had to remove your underclothes and it's a very small like pen like torch type thing, it inserts into your back passage and attached to this is a method of taking slivers off the cancer. And it's not a very pleasant experience, not a lot of pain was experienced except when they were taking the samples, it was just like a little red hot needle and I think they took about 6 or 8 of these samples which was sent off for biopsy. I wouldn't let this put anybody off. I was lucky enough to have a chap who knew what he was doing. The most discomfort I found was the fact that you are overlooked by, in my case a young nurse, who stood at the front of you telling you not to worry. But it was more embarrassment than pain owing to the fact that this young girl was just stood alongside you whilst it was being done. But I certainly didn't feel a lot of discomfort.

 

Suggests that his brother has been very embarrassed by the diagnosis.

Suggests that his brother has been very embarrassed by the diagnosis.

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My own brother has been too embarrassed to phone me, we haven't spoken, it's now 14 months since I went [for the diagnosis] and it's only in the past week that me and my brother have spoke about it, and even then he couldn't look me in the eye, he couldn't have eye contact when you're talking about it. And I think it's a lack of education where this is concerned.

 

Describes the extremely negative and uneducated reactions he has had from some people.

Describes the extremely negative and uneducated reactions he has had from some people.

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I think it's the lack of education because if somebody has got cancer people are led to believe that you can turn round, if you touch somebody you're going to catch it. So if they are over the other side of the road and they're shouting to you there's no possibility of them catching you.

What makes you think that?

Well because it happened with us with two very good friends. We always went out once a month as a foursome, we used my car, they'd sit in the car and off we'd go, we'd sit at the table in the pub, have a meal. And once they knew I had this, it was a case of 'Well we're going out for a meal on so and so night we'll meet you down at the hotel,' and this, this is when you find out who your friends are.

So you think the friends didn't want to be in the same car with you?

No, no. [they didn't]

That must've made you feel bad.

It's terrible. Now, as I say it's sorted out, it sorts out who your friends are and who your friends are not you know and don't be afraid to talk about it. If somebody is going to know about it let them know about it from you and not from somebody else. Because the occasion happened where a local businesswoman, when she saw me she was put under the impression that I had 3 months to live and you can, this is true now, I only told 2 people initially and it went around the village, 'Poor old so and so he's got 3 months to live,' and we've known her over 30 years, she was crying on my shoulder you know. And it's not sympathy we want, it's just understanding.

 

Considers that men should try to be more open about problems.

Considers that men should try to be more open about problems.

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I think a lot of men get embarrassed to talk to others and they still think they're the macho man and if they're in a crowd of men they're not going to be saying 'Oh well I've got problems,' and brag about it, if that's, you know if that's the word to describe it. I think men, they don't want to know because it's against their nature, they just keep going and going without complaining. Whereas women, if we took a leaf out of their books and went [to the doctor], I think that would be one of the best cures or at least one of the best step forwards that you could get where illness in the male is concerned.

 

Describes the process and considers that the treatment is painless.

Describes the process and considers that the treatment is painless.

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I had to go down a week before the actual treatment and they give you what they call tattoos, it's just to save you time when you go and actually start the treatment. You're just given a little pin prick when they line the machine up, you get a tattoo that's with you for the rest of your life. In the case of prostate cancer one on your right hip, one on the left hip and then one just down below the navel. It's just a little dye that they implant into your skin so when you go for your treatment you actually lie on the table and the machine is all calibrated for the measurements, to save them having to line it up every time you go down. It's fed into a computer, you lie on the bed, you're strapped by your feet and you are then zapped on your right hip, your left hip and then directly on the front. It lasts about 3 to 5 minutes and I had to have this Monday to Friday for 20 sessions. The actual treatment you don't feel a thing.

 

Describes the unpleasant symptoms of hot flushes.

Describes the unpleasant symptoms of hot flushes.

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The tablets and the injections. I chose that but it means that they've got to get rid of your male hormones and replace the male hormones with the female hormones and they'll tell you if they're worth their weight in gold these specialists they're going to give you the female menopause. And you actually go, you have the hot flushes and this is before the treatment. You have the hot flushes you wake up in the night you're a bath of sweat, your attitude changes, you get very nasty, very irritable, you get on a very short fuse, you'll take it out on the people you love and you'll rant and rave at them and you know you're doing it but unfortunately there's nothing at all that you can do about it, you just let it run its course, it's not very pleasant. Now I had, after the 4, 4 lots of injections.

 

Comments on his change in attitude after having female hormones.

Comments on his change in attitude after having female hormones.

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How did that make you feel as a man having female hormones?

Terrible, that's when your masculinity really goes. Forget about the sex drive when you get them implanted in you, you just get a crazy mixed up kid for want of a better word because you're doing these terrible things, you know it's not you, you know it's not part and parcel of your upbringing because as I said you'll snap, you'll rant and rave, you just, your total outlook on life is different. It changes your attitude and your attitude to the ones that you're living with, your attitude to your family, you just don't want to know them. And I suppose it's the fact that you're having foreign bodies implanted into your body because all your male hormones just disappear and because they say that the prostate cancer feeds on the male hormones so they replace it with the female hormones so as that's the initial start of the treatment that you're starving the cancer and then you go on to the, in my case onto the radiotherapy.

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