BPC patient Ken Keight, 79, discusses prostate cancer surgery and issues for older patients

“Surgery was certainly the right choice for me and it was important to consider the different options and weigh things up. Age is relative to your overall lifestyle and fitness and for me personally, it was certainly not the case that I was ‘too old’ for surgery in any way.”
Ken Keight, Birmingham Prostate Clinic prostate cancer patient

Ken Keight is a 79-year-old from Worcestershire who recently had prostate cancer surgery. Mr Keight explains why he chose to have a prostatectomy and the decisions facing older patients.

“For me, the starting point was having to get up five, six or seven times a night to go to the toilet. I knew that wasn’t normal so I saw my GP who carried out a PSA test and found a lump when he examined my prostate.

“I was referred to a local urologist but my wife and I also did some research on the internet ourselves. I was interested in brachytherapy as a treatment approach, but found out that my prostate was too large to have that form of treatment.

“I found The Birmingham Prostate Clinic on the internet and was pleased to see that Mr Doherty was a local surgeon, but also recognised as one of the top surgeons in the country. When I had an appointment, I really liked his manner – he was very honest and easy to talk to.

“Before my appointment at Birmingham Prostate Clinic, although no-one had said to me, in exact words, that I was too old for surgery, I got the impression that there was a cut-off point around the age of 75. I had a full discussion with Mr Doherty about it – he explained that I could leave it for about three years, enjoy my life and deal with it further down the line, or consider surgery.

“Leaving it didn’t appeal to me at all. Having a disease which was only going to progress, it made sense to tackle it sooner rather than later. I liked the fact that Mr Doherty treated me as a person, looking beyond my age. We are both keen cyclists, so we had common ground, and both felt because I am fit and active, I would be able to tolerate surgery well.

“I had an open prostatectomy in June 2012 at the Priory Hospital in Birmingham. Immediately upon my return home, I was dry during the night and overall it took less than four weeks to become completely dry and confident to go without any pads, day or night. After the operation I spent four days in hospital before returning home.

“I did get on my bike for a short ride two weeks after surgery – I know that wasn’t in the post-operative advice, but my recovery was very good and rapid and I have always enjoyed keeping fit. Now, five months after surgery, I don’t even think of prostate cancer. I am fully recovered, cycling three times a week, covering a minimum of 70 miles in total, and being fortunate to live in an area with beautiful countryside on the doorstep.

“Surgery was certainly the right choice for me and it was important to consider the different options and weigh things up. Age is relative to your overall lifestyle and fitness and for me personally, it was certainly not the case that I was ‘too old’ for surgery in any way.”