Paul Ferris (pictured above)
Men’s Health Forum Ireland Ambassador
It was the summer of 2016. I was on a holiday of a lifetime when I found out about my prostate cancer.
I was watching Coldplay in Concert. That day, I had been writing one of the final chapters of my memoir ‘The Boy on the Shed.’ An unexpected heart attack three years prior had focused my mind on putting my life to date down on paper. It was all going so well until I noticed I was getting up in the night to pee a little more often than usual.
Know when to see a doctor
I knew not to take any chances. I made an appointment with my doctor. One palpation of my prostate later, I was having a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test. My PSA was high. I was put on a fast-track programme to see a urologist. I got a letter telling me to ignore the first one I’d received, and that another one would follow. I did ignore it — for four months!
It was all going so well until I noticed I was getting up in the night to pee a little more often than usual.
I assumed I wasn’t a priority and waited. I’d all but forgotten about it until I made my way to the toilet at the Coldplay concert. I stood at the urinal and waited — nothing came. I couldn’t tell you what Coldplay sang for the rest of the night. My mind was elsewhere. It was on the fact that something was very wrong and wondering where my letter was.
Catching it early
I called the hospital when I got home. I had my appointment. I had my biopsy — I had prostate cancer. I opted to have a prostatectomy. I hoped that would cure it. It didn’t. There was a positive margin. I was back in the hospital a year later for radiotherapy and hormone treatment. I’m four years clear now. I live with the side effects of my treatments — incontinence, erectile dysfunction, infertility and penile shrinkage (indeed!). Sometimes, that gets me down. Then, I remind myself that I‘m one of the lucky ones. My cancer was caught early enough, even if it did take a ruined Coldplay concert to get me back on track.