Radiotherapy stopped cancer in its tracks for Nick, but the long journey to get treatment proved to be a real challenge. This is his story, as told to Radiotherapy UK.
Nick, 58, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in April last year, and had no idea how far he’d have to travel to access treatment.
After hormone therapy he was given 20 sessions of radiotherapy, starting in September 2022.
Nick, from Malton, was sent on a 100-mile round trip to Leeds for treatment, since no local hospitals have the radiotherapy machines needed to treat him. A National Radiotherapy Advisory Group report concluded that, ideally, patients should have to travel more than 45minutes to access standard radiotherapy treatment, but Nick’s daily travel times added up to a 2.5hour car journey. Looking back, Nick says he is not sure how he got through it.
He said: “The team that treated me were so lovely, and I really appreciate what they did for me.
“I was quite lucky because my brother and sister could take me and that took the sting out of it, but I still felt quite guilty for putting on them. Other patients had to rely on patient transport and they had a lot of waiting around to do. Anyone relying on public transport would have found it nearly impossible.
“Cancer comes with a lot of stress anyway, but the extra travel was very challenging and I was glad to have it done and dusted. There’s a lot to get right when you get there because you have to fill your bladder to the right level and take a laxative and the treatment is so precise that they can’t do it until everything lines up exactly.
“The machine goes round you three times and doesn’t touch you and I found it easier than an MRI as I’m quite claustrophophic.”
Nick’s diagnosis began in January 2022, when he was found to have a high PSA (prostate-specific antigen) level of 55. Cancer was confirmed in April through MRI and CT scans, but thankfully it had not spread. Today his PSA tests have reduced to 0.4 and Nick’s hormone treatment will continue until January 2024.
For now though, he is simply glad to be back home in North Yorkshire, and no longer having to spend hours in the car travelling for treatment.
Nick said: “If I’d had to do anymore then I’m not sure I would have. About halfway through I just didn’t think I could do it, so I’m glad it’s all over.
“I wanted to share what I’ve been through in case I could help anybody else.”