For GPs

My prostate cancer journey so far: Mark’s experience with radiation therapy

09 Oct 2017

In 2015, I was a 52 year old happily married father of four, with a great job as a fireman, in good health and enjoying life.

Mark Brandt and his wife Linda

I had had regular physical check ups, including PSA blood tests for prostate cancer. I had no symptoms that would indicate I had any issues at all. Unknown to me, my PSA level had been rising and unfortunately I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in June 2015. It was an absolute shock.

The next few months were a whirl wind full of appointments, scans, tests, emotions and gaining knowledge.

In October I had a radical prostatectomy and although I recovered well from the surgery, the pathology results were not as we had hoped. There was still cancer left behind in my prostate area.

It became evident that for me, further treatment was necessary. I sought opinions from several specialists. After talking to the radiation oncologist and her teams, I felt absolutely confident that radiation therapy was the course of action I needed to take. Everything was explained to both myself and my wife in detail. We were given a written treatment plan and the process of that was clearly mapped out. Nothing was too much trouble and we suddenly began to feel human again for the first time during this whole Cancer experience.

The reality of radiation isn’t as scary as it seems. It can be delivered close to your home or place of work and is totally free as it is covered under Medicare in a public hospital.

After you are scanned and marked up for the mapped-out delivery process, your information is in ‘the system.’ The team of radiation therapists then work efficiently and extremely competently. You are monitored every step of the way.

My treatment was delivered 5 days per week for a period of 7 consecutive weeks. I continued to work during this time and it literally took under 10 minutes each session that was booked in and ran to schedule.

The staff were thorough and kind. There was always someone available to discuss concerns or to just relieve the stress that a diagnosis of cancer obviously brings.

Specialist Radiation Oncologists oversee all areas of treatment and schedule routine consultations during and after the treatment period.

The side effects for me have been minimal, with fatigue being the worst, creeping in midway through treatment and continuing for a few months.

Whilst no one wants the diagnosis or challenges of cancer, the field of Radiation Oncology should not be undervalued. The technology offers precision targeting, evidence based results, cost and ease of treatment to make it an attractive choice.

I am happy with the results I have had and am confident that I have made the correct choice moving forward in my cancer journey.