Prostate cancer symptoms: Retired man’s seemingly harmless infection may have been deadly

Bill Turnbull shares message with Prostate Cancer UK

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It was Raymond Kirkham’s repeated urinary tract infections (UTIs) that brought him through the surgery’s doors in the first place. “It’s been over 10 years since my diagnosis and treatment,” the married man beamed. “Any men that have signs of a urine infection, I would certainly tell them to get checked,” Raymond added. “If I hadn’t had the infections, I wouldn’t have had anything done about it.”

UTIs in men

The NHS listed symptoms of UTIs, which can include:

  • Pain or a burning sensation when peeing (dysuria)
  • Needing to pee more often than usual during the night (nocturia)
  • Pee that looks cloudy
  • Needing to pee suddenly or more urgently than usual
  • Needing to pee more often than usual
  • Blood in your pee
  • Lower tummy pain or pain in your back, just under the ribs
  • A high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
  • A very low temperature below 36C.

Men with symptoms of a UTI are advised by the NHS to book an appointment with their doctor.

It was a quick trip to the doctor’s that was the catalyst for Raymond to enjoy many more years with his beloved wife and children.

“I took my first PSA test back in 2008, and the level was 5ng/ml, which is higher than average,” Raymond remembered.

“My consultant advised me to continue checking my PSA levels every three months over a year, but by the start of 2009, it had reached 9ng/ml.”

This is when his consultant, Mr Shearer, suggested a biopsy to check for cancer.

The Yorkshireman – who had moved to Scotland by this point in his life – had his diagnosis confirmed at Edinburgh Western General Hospital.

Raymond was given four treatment options: radiotherapy, keyhole surgery, monitoring the prostate cancer, or brachytherapy.

“I had already seen a programme on Yorkshire Television based in St James’ in Leeds, which followed the journey of a few men having brachytherapy,” Raymond recalled.

The 80-year-old continued: “They had all been in the hospital that morning for their operation, and by dinner, they had all gone home.

“I remember thinking to myself, if there’s a chance of having this treatment, I’m certainly going to have it.”

On July 10, 2009, Raymond began the brachytherapy treatment that he was set on.

“I went in on Friday morning, and the operation was done during the day, so I stayed overnight, but by Saturday morning, I was on my way home,” he said.

“I had no pain from anywhere, it was as if I had gone to sleep one night and woke up the next morning fine.

“I then had no trouble at all during my recovery process after the treatment, and carried on as if nothing had happened.”

Asked if he suffered from any side effects from the treatment, Raymond opened up about issues with going to the toilet.

“But they give you some treatment for this, which you take over a period of time, and then it all works out okay,” he explained.

“And I’m only now experiencing a loss of libido at 80 years of age, so I take that as part of getting older.”

Raymond still has annual PSA checks, but it’s never been over 0.5ng/ml since his treatment – and he’s not had a urine infection since.

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