Nerve-sparing keyhole prostatectomy testimonial – Philip Freeman

When Philip Freeman was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he chose nerve-sparing keyhole surgery. A nerve sparing prostatectomy involves precision surgery aimed at preserving the nerves in order to reduce the risk of impotence and incontinence.

Surgeon Alan Doherty is one of the UK’s leading specialists in nerve-sparing keyhole prostatectomy and is able to spare the nerves as effectively in keyhole surgery as in open procedures. Mr Freeman describes why it is important to consider quality of life issues when deciding which treatment to choose for prostate cancer.

“When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February 2005, I did a lot of research, speaking to people and on the internet. Psychologically, you want to get rid of the cancer and because of my age – I was 56 – surgery seemed the best option and was strongly recommended by all the medics I spoke to.

“Mr Doherty spoke to me about keyhole techniques and how he was able to perform nerve-sparing surgery with very good success rates. At the time, my prime focus is on surviving the cancer and living some form of normal life. I felt if I came out of the operation with a reasonably normal life, I would accept complications like impotency if they arose.

“It is only after the operation that you realise how important these secondary things are. The biggest worry for me had been incontinence. The thought of walking around with that sort of problem was very worrying. The statistics show that incontinence is a complication for less than five per cent of men – but it is hard to believe it. In my case it was absolutely perfect. Within six weeks I was totally dry and I have had zero problems.

“In terms of impotency, I’m also very content with the situation in terms of how the operation has affected my sex life. It is two years since the operation and I’m completely comfortable with the results. We have just as much fun as we ever had even though we have had to make some adaptations.

“I would certainly recommend the operation I had and emphasise that once you get over the shock of the diagnosis, the operation was not that big a deal. After the operation, you can get on with your life knowing the cancer has been removed and then the emotional comfort and quality of life returns.”