Prostate cancer procedure one day, golf the next

New Zealand brachytherapy patient and prostate cancer survivor, Bruce Stewart, recently shared his story with Fairfax Media New Zealand, and a detailed case study of Bruce’s experience with brachytherapy below.

A prostate cancer procedure on the Thursday, golf on Friday, about sums up Palmerston North solicitor and prostate cancer survivor Bruce Stewart’s experience with Low Dose Rate (LDR) brachytherapy

“The procedure was completely painless,” says Bruce. “It was minimally intrusive and over so quickly that the only disruption I endured was the initial diagnosis and the psychological effects of finding out I had cancer.”

Bruce’s experience with LDR brachytherapy is not unusual because LDR is a targeted form of internal radiotherapy and an effective, minimally invasive treatment for prostate cancer with significant quality of life benefits over alternative treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy.

“Originally my urologist gave me a book that set out the alternatives. I read the book and talked to friends who had been through the process of surgery. Then I met somebody who had been treated by Professor David Lamb, so I got my urologist to refer me to him,” says Bruce.

Professor Lamb is the co-leader of the Southern Cross-based Wellington Prostate Brachytherapy Group and a radiation oncologist who holds academic positions at the University of Otago, Wellington, and Victoria University of Wellington. He has had a special interest in the treatment of prostate cancer for over twenty years.

Bruce says he can’t reinforce enough how apparently simple and free from consequences was the brachytherapy compared to what he’s seen from some of his friends who went through the surgical process, “Some of them were off work for months whereas I was not off work at all.

“I personally had no side effects whatsoever and there have been no problems with my life in any sense following the treatment in 2012. It worked completely from my point of view. Fortunately I was diagnosed at an earlier stage, and was lucky enough to have his treatment,” says Bruce.

Treatments choices for prostate cancer ultimately depend on the extent of the cancer as well as patient preferences. The specialist usually discusses treatment options with the patient so they can make up their own mind as to which treatment they would prefer to undergo.