My story started in October 2009 with an innocuous flow test at Bridport Community Hospital, followed by an examination of the inside of my bladder in the hospital’s day surgery unit. Further tests were then carried out at Dorset County Hospital (DCH) in Dorchester. As a result of the information gathered, Mr Afzal, my consultant, partially removed my prostate gland (the medical term being “Transurethral Resection of the Prostate” or TURP for short) at DCH in May 2010.

Having taken a biopsy during the TURP, I was informed shortly afterwards that I had prostate cancer. It comes as a terrible shock to all of us when we are told we have cancer. I am very fortunate in having a very supportive wife and children and my strong faith means I know that God is with me.

A further biopsy confirmed that I had one of the less aggressive cancers and Mr Afzal put me on “active surveillance”, consisting of a regular PSA test every six months, followed by an appointment with Mr Afzal. This went on for three years with my PSA rising very slowly. In July 2013 I had an MRI scan which showed the cancer had spread. The subsequent biopsy confirmed this diagnosis and it was found that the cancer was very close to the edge of the prostate so that I now needed treatment.

There are various treatments for prostate cancer, the main two being surgery by a radical prostatectomy or seven and a half weeks of radiotherapy at Poole Hospital. Both of these have some unpleasant after affects. Mr Afzal recommended that I should have surgery and said that they had just delivered a Da Vinci Robot, costing £1.5m, to Bournemouth Hospital. This machine is the gold standard and is less invasive than open surgery, although the procedure can still take 3 to 4 hours. Because of a long delay in setting up the robot it was decided that I should have robotic surgery at Wexham Park Hospital in Slough, a round trip of 300 miles. The surgery was carried out on 15 October 2013. By Christmas I was fully recovered and continue to undergo regular PSA tests. I am currently in remission and have every reason to believe that I am cured.

While I was suffering with prostate problems I was told to avoid red meat and reduce my consumption of dairy products including milk, cheese and butter. So I lived off chicken, turkey and fish with salads, potatoes and vegetables for three years. Now that my prostate is removed I can eat what I like, in moderation, which is a great relief.

The NHS have been marvellous over the last four years and my consultant, specialist nurse, doctors and nurses have all looked after my physical well being very well. Since I joined The Living Tree in January 2013, the group’s members have offered me mutual support and understanding, and I have made many new friends. I can’t imagine life without our weekly meetings.

Peter Green – April 2014