Colin Turner chose treatment at BPC by carrying out his own online research from his home in Portugal. Mr Turner, a retired RAF and airline pilot, explains why.

“I was aware of having some increasing problems with frequency, but this was close to the time when my wife died in a car accident; I wasn’t able to do anything about it for a while. Once I saw a doctor locally, I found my prostate was enlarged and my PSA was 6.8.  The doctor recommended I should see a urologist in Faro and to do so in about two months’ time, so we could see how my PSA was by then.

I started doing my own research and had some good advice from a friend who had recently been treated for prostate cancer. Knowledge is king. I recognised having an MRI scan before a biopsy is best practice and arranged a scan in Portugal. I also continued to do my own online research: I found the list of top ten UK surgeons as recommended by urologists and analysed the information about each one.

I was particularly impressed by the ready access to quantifiable evidence of Mr Doherty’s operations with a successful outcome. Also, the written reviews by past patients were particularly helpful. Mr Doherty’s volume of work and his obvious helpful and approachable demeanour were evidenced by past patients. Having come from an industry where peer opinion is very important, I was convinced that BPC and Mr Doherty were the best choice. Prior to my airline service, I flew in the RAF, flying Jaguar single seat aircraft. Peer opinion was everything then as well. We had to trust each other. Our lives could depend on it.

By the time I had my biopsy results in Portugal, I was prepared for the likelihood of having prostate cancer and I had already chosen to come to the Birmingham Prostate Clinic and see Mr Doherty.  At this stage, my PSA had risen to 9 and my Gleason score was 3 and 4. Although it would have been possible to have an initial telephone consultation with Mr Doherty, I’d already made my mind up and organised an appointment and flights to Birmingham.

I was planning for keyhole surgery for prostate cancer, although when I met Mr Doherty, he explained he used to work laparoscopically, but found outcomes were better from open surgery. I was impressed that he was auditing his work in this way and followed the rationale of an open approach. I also had made a choice of the surgeon I trust to carry out my operation; I believe the choice of surgeon is the most important thing – I was happy to go with the technique he thought best.

I had my operation in October 2019. I had no incontinence whatsoever: as soon as the catheter came out, I was dry. I was also amazed to find my erectile recovery returned by three weeks post-op. I knew, from my research, that incontinence and erectile dysfunction were potential side effects of prostate surgery. There are many factors involved in these problems. However, I believe that choosing a very experienced and proven surgeon has been the major factor in the success of my recovery.

I’ve had my three-month post-op PSA reading, which is 0.003ngl, indicating full cancer clearance. I’m really pleased with the choice I made and am very conscious of the huge variations in outcomes from prostate cancer surgery. I was fortunate to be able to carefully do my own research and choose my surgeon.

It was pretty straightforward coming to BPC from Portugal; it was really just a case of scheduling. I brought my MRI and biopsy results over to Birmingham on a disc and Mr Doherty reviewed them (there was no need to repeat assessments). By doing my own research in between appointments in Portugal, I was able to get ahead of the game and feel confident in the choices I made.”