With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts

- Eleanor Roosevelt

John Page

Married Father of 4 John Page from Limerick was 53 when he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer.

He is sharing his story to help the Marie Keating Foundation raise awareness about prostate cancer.

So, I’m John page, age 58 years, native to and living in Limerick. I generally have excellent health. Sometime around my mid-thirties I developed gout, and while this was successfully treated, it did require me to have my bloods checked every 6 months going forward.

On or around my 50th birthday, I had my regularly 6 monthly checkups with my GP, who told me that all was good with my bloods, except that he noticed a small increase in my PSA count. Nothing to panic about, we agreed, but we would keep an eye on this.

Over the next year the PSA continued to trend very gradually upwards, and my GP started to quiz me more closely. Any family history of prostate cancer? Yes actually, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer when he was 72, and my first cousin on my mother’s side was diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 50. Ah, that’s interesting, I was told, and on foot of that I was referred to the Rapid Access Prostate Clinic at the University Hospital Limerick.


Over the next year or two I worked with this excellent team as they put me through various diagnostic treatments. I knew what an MRI was, but I was soon to find out what DRE stands for, and what TRUS stands for! This went on over a couple of years, and while nothing untoward was found on any of these tests, the PSA continued to nudge upwards. Above 2, then above 3, then above 4. The consultant recommended a trans perineal biopsy as a further diagnostic, because he simply did not like the PSA trend. In March 2019, two weeks after the trans perineal biopsy, I got the news that I had prostate cancer.

This began a series of meetings and consultations and home research. The road ahead was explained to me. I was given a choice of having surgery or radiotherapy. I had lots of discussions with doctors and consultants over this. If you have surgery, you can have radiotherapy as a follow on, if it is needed. However, if you start with radiotherapy, you cannot have surgery afterwards.


So, my wife and I spent a few weeks trying to get our heads around this. If you need further treatment after surgery/radiotherapy, it will likely be hormones and/or chemotherapy. But now came the weird bit. To me, it seemed intuitive that I should go for surgery. It might clear me completely. If it doesn’t, you can have follow-up radiotherapy. if you start with radiotherapy and it doesn’t work, you can’t have surgery, you next start receiving hormone treatment, and there are fewer interventions that can help. But regardless of whether you start with surgery or radiotherapy, the statistics say that the outcome is the same. I needed this explained to me more than once. How can the outcome be the same? That’s what the data says, and that’s why I was offered the choice, rather than being told what to do.

With both radiotherapy and surgery, I had to research and ask questions about the possible side effects. With surgery, continence and erectile disfunction are likely side effects, though these have been positively impacted by advances in robotic surgery. With radiotherapy, bowel problems, incontinence, erectile disfunction, lower energy levels and lower mood can be problematic. Recovery is considerably longer after surgery. Side effects can take years to develop after radiotherapy.

One comment I would make here is that there is far too little attention paid to the degree of likely incontinence (a few loose drops, or nappies for years, or somewhere in between?) and the degree of likely erectile disfunction (treatable with a tablet, or more severe?).

So, for better or worse I went for surgery, and had my prostate removed at the mater private on May 30, 2019. The operation was a success, the tissue that was removed was examined and to all intents and purposes the surgeon was happy that he had completely removed the cancer, but that I would require regular 6-monthly blood tests to make sure. August 2019, Feb 2020 and September 2020 all returned PSA counts that were “nil detectable. “Then in March 2021, a tiny but detectable PSA score was detected. The consultant asked to go to a four-month cycle of blood tests. July 2021 saw PSA up slightly again, and November 2021 saw it increase again. Now I learned a new expression, “biochemical relapse,” meaning that some cancerous activity had again been detected.

I was referred to the Mater private cancer treatment centre at University Hospital Limerick, where I underwent a 33-day course of treatment between January and March 2022. Again, the follow-up was regular blood tests, but I was told there was no point in taking a blood test for another four months, because that’s the period it took for radiotherapy to deliver its maximum impact. What a strange thing is this radiotherapy, that, compared to a surgeon’s knife, takes so long to act. However, August 2022 saw my bloods back to normal, and Feb 2023 saw the same. I am going for bloods again at the end of august 2023, and have my fingers crossed!

John is supporting our 2023 Stand Up for your prostate campaign- more coming soon!

Click HERE for more information and support on Prostate Cancer

To show your support, and follow in John’s footsteps, get one of our Stand Up For Your Prostate pins here.