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Richard Sharp's Prostate Cancer Story


Man smiling on seat

Richard Sharp, 71, Burntwood, Staffordshire

Richard was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 and had surgery to remove the prostate. He came along to the Birmingham March for Men in 2019 with his dog, Guy the Golden Retriever.


His story:

 
Richard was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018, at the age of 69. He was diagnosed after visiting his doctor about discomfort when going to the toilet, which he believed at the time was linked to scarring caused by kidney stones around 10 years before. 
 
He was referred to a urologist, who asked how frequently he was going to the toilet and performed a rectal exam. He could tell immediately that there was an issue and Richard was referred for a biopsy before being told that he had prostate cancer in December 2018. 
 
Richard was informed he was at moderately high risk and was offered a choice between surgery to remove the prostate or radiotherapy. He chose to have the operation, in part because of the long distances and repeated hospital visits necessary for radiotherapy treatment.
 
Richard said: "I had the operation the week before Christmas in 2018, which effectively means I missed Christmas altogether. 
 
"I actually ended up having my family around for Christmas in March when I was feeling better!"
 
Richard had a long recovery period, and the operation affected his bladder and bowels quite badly for three months before things started to improve. 
 
Richard said: "The incontinence was particularly hard to deal with at first, but it has reached the stage now where it's manageable. I spoke to a specialist nurse who gave me exercises and advice which certainly helped."
 
Since the operation, Richard has had his PSA levels monitored regularly. Towards the end of 2019, Richard's doctors noticed that although his PSA remained low, it had begun to slowly rise and he has been referred for follow-up hormone therapy and radiotherapy. Richard's hormone treatment started in November 2019, in preparation for the radiotherapy, which was due to start in March 2020. 
 
However, this was delayed by 6 weeks due to the Coronavirus situation, but Richard has now completed the course of treatment and is awaiting tests to confirm its effectiveness. Unfortunately, the radiation caused his incontinence to return quite severely for a couple of months, but it is now subsiding.
 
Richard said: "Although it was unexpected, I've been able to keep my emotions really well in check throughout this. It helps that I've always been quite a positive person. I've always known that something was going to get me in the end, it's just that at the moment I've got to deal with cancer.
 
"I just want to keep going as long as possible, because I've got a young granddaughter now, and I want to be able to see how she develops."
 

March for Men – Birmingham 2019

 
In June 2019, Richard joined the Prostate Cancer UK March for Men even in Birmingham, alongside his dog, Guy the Goldie.
 
Richard said: "It was a friend who first told me about it and asked if I was interested in going along. It's only since being diagnosed myself that I've realised how prolific prostate cancer is, and a lot of people still have misconceptions about it. Apparently 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime, and I spoke to a man on the day who told me that it's twice that for black men. That's why I think it's fantastic that so many people came along to support the charity and help raise awareness about the disease."
 
Richard said: "The friend who told me about the March for Men, reminded me the other day of what I said when she asked me how I felt about being diagnosed with cancer. My reply was 'It's just the start of the next phase of my life'."
 

Other information:

 
Richard isn't the only person in his family to have cancer, as his brother has been treated for prostate cancer. His mother also sadly passed away from suspected colon cancer.