Derek Aucott had GreenLight laser surgery for BPH at the age of 86. He experienced no pain and had a 100 per cent improvement. Mr Aucott from Leicestershire explains why age must be no barrier to high quality treatment

Greenlight Laser Surgery

“When I had my first hospital assessment for a suspected enlarged prostate, I was getting up to go to the toilet five or six times a night. At my local hospital, I was seen by a nurse, had a physical examination and was simply told it was very common for men of my age. I was given no medication, there was no discussion about treatment, it was a case of ‘putting up with it’.

Six months later, everything ceased up completely. It was extremely painful and I had to go to an out-of-hours surgery to have a catheter fitted. At that point, I was given tablets with the aim of reducing the size of my prostate. But they made no difference at all.

I had three trials without catheter and each time, the trial failed. After six months with a catheter, my PSA level doubled and I was referred to hospital again. I was told that I would need to wear a catheter for the rest of my life. No further examination was given, no treatment options were mentioned or discussed. This was very difficult to take. I found it very debilitating dragging around the bag and catheter all the time. I like walking, I’m active, I still work full-time as a company director. It really started to get me down and the prospect of being stuck with a catheter for the rest of my life was depressing.

My professional background is in a company manufacturing products for the door and window industry. I’m comfortable with research and analysis: I spend a huge amount of time researching new products and processes. So, I went online to look beyond my local service and find out about what was available for BPH. The web is a fantastic resource – I looked worldwide, including studies from America, Sweden. I completely immersed myself.

I was impressed with the GreenLight laser treatment option, particularly that using a laser to reduce surplus tissue reduced the amount of associated bleeding. I was reassured that NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) had approved of GreenLight laser and found it was as effective as other treatments.

Then it was a case of choosing a surgeon. I would have been prepared to go anywhere for treatment, including abroad, if that was where the best surgeon was located. I travel extensively for work so it wouldn’t have been an obstacle. I looked at many different surgeons and chose Alan Doherty at the Birmingham Prostate Clinic because I could see he had completed hundreds of GreenLight laser procedures and had published his results.

When I had my first appointment with Mr Doherty, he checked whether there was any prostate cancer risk and also measured my prostate. Measuring had not been done before. He found my prostate was four times larger than it should be; no wonder I hadn’t been able to pass urine and the tablets were ineffective.

I asked to have the procedure sooner rather than later and went into Priory Hospital, Birmingham in December (2016). It took place on a Saturday and I remember coming round after surgery with various drips and wires in. I was expecting some pain and soreness, but I can honestly say there was none whatsoever. I was offered pain relief, but I didn’t need it at any stage. The wires were removed and I simply got up and walked around.

From the word go, everything worked perfectly. I went to the toilet and passed urine just like I had always done before the BPH. It was like turning the clock back 20 years; I was absolutely delighted. I went home the following day, was driving by day two and back at work after one week.

Six weeks after GreenLight laser surgery, I know that I chose the right surgeon, the right procedure at the right hospital. I can’t get over how it was 100 per cent effective with no pain or soreness whatsoever – the perfect outcome. I am convinced the reason I wasn’t offered treatment in my local hospital was because of my age, which is appalling. Many men of my age lead full, active lives and the idea of being left to just ‘put up’ with something like a catheter on a permanent basis is not acceptable, especially when there is such a good treatment as GreenLight laser which is so effective and with little or no side-effects. If anyone has the same condition as myself I would say – Don’t put up with the discomfort and limitations of a catheter, but opt for the greenlight laser operation even before it gets to that stage. The operation is a breeze.”

If only I had known I would have been at the head of the queue and got my life back so much sooner but this is something I had to find out for myself.