Cholesterol concerns led to surprise prostate diagnosis

Father-of-two Frank Ganley knew nothing about urology until a chance coment from his GP changed everything.

Frank, 60, from Wolverhampton, had arranged to see his doctor for a blood test to check his cholesterol levels. Noting his age, the GP also suggested Frank also did a PSA test.

Shortly afterwards Frank was diagnosed with prostate cancer, something which really took him by surprise. “I was surprised when tests showed my PSA level was too high and even more shocked when a scan showed I had aggressive prostate cancer. I had no symptoms at all and I was only in my 50s. I feel very fortunate that my GP was thinking outside of the box and asked me to do a PSA test, if we hadn’t had that conversation I could be dead by now.”

Frank's TUF-funded surgeon

Frank, who is married to Lynne and has two sons, William and Jack, needed to have his prostate removed and decided to have robotic surgery after meeting TUF-funded scholar Peter Cooke at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust. Pete received funding from The Urology Foundation in 2012 to train in robotic surgery. He went to a centre of excellence in Nashville, Tennessee where he was able to see the innovative procedure in action.

“Going there and working so closely with experts at one of the best centres of the world was an incredible experience and one that has ultimately really benefitted my patients,” said Peter. “When I came back from Nashville I was more experienced and confident at this procedure which has so many benefits for patients.”

The advantages of robotic surgery include shorter hospitalisation, reduced pain and discomfort, faster recovery time and return to normal activities, reduced blood loss and transfusions and minimal scarring. Patients are often less likely to experience side effects such as incontinence or erectile dysfunction.

Robotic surgery the way to go

It was these benefits that convinced Frank that robotic surgery was the way to go.

“I decided to have my prostate removed robotically because of the many benefits, including quicker recovery time. I have hardly any scars.

“The whole process from start to finish was excellent, everyone was so kind to me and I wasn’t worried about being operated on by a robot at all. I was back home the day after my operation and up and about within a week.”

Frank decided to run the Bristol 10k and a Sprint Triathlon to raise funds for TUF and raised more than £500.

“I wanted to fundraise because I feel very lucky and grateful that my cancer was discovered when it was. I spoke to my surgeon Mr Cooke explaining that I would like to give something back and he told me about The Urology Foundation and what the charity does. I love the fact that TUF funds research and helps train urologists because this hugely benefits patients but the greatest appeal is that TUF covers the whole spectrum of urology which I feel is so important, rather than just focusing on one specific cancer.

“I think it is great that with TUF’s help more urologists will be trained in robotics and more people can be treated this way. TUF’s work is vital.”

Peter Cooke has treated over 500 people with prostate cancer using the robot. He has also performed many robotic cystectomies for bladder cancer, including internal neobladder (new bladder) reconstruction. Robotic cystectomies for bladder cancer are the fastest growing operation at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.

“TUF’s investment is vital – my training in Nashville is making a difference to patients like Frank. To me, Frank is evidence of how important my training in Nashville was. He chose to have robotic surgery because I could show him the great results. I am performing robotic surgery on more and more patients because they will have fewer side effects and return to normal life quicker.”


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