A patient at Cromwell Hospital discusses his experience using the prostate cancer diagnostic pathway.
Tell us about your symptoms and when you decided to see a doctor.
Having been at a work event, I heard a colleague talk about having unexplained back pain which ended up taking him down the oncology route. On the same day, I started having acute lower back pain for no apparent reason, which prompted me to look further at some other symptoms I just took for granted and put down to my age (just turned 60), such as getting up in the night to go to the toilet at least once, occasional hesitancy and weak flow. This made me think about getting checked out.
What was the process of using the prostate pathway?
I decided to speak to one of my colleagues who looked after the prostate pathway, and they directed me to use my Bupa health insurance and discuss my symptoms. I used a virtual GP service and had a telephone appointment with a GP the same day as my call. The GP discussed my symptoms and sent me a referral email within an hour. With this I was able to discuss my concerns with Bupa, who got me in touch with Cromwell Hospital. I had a triage appointment within 24 hours and, within that appointment, a straight-to-test appointment was arranged at Cromwell the next day.
I went to the hospital, had a blood test and received my results within a further 24 hours. So, within just 3 days of discussing my symptoms, I had my results. I am pleased to say my results were negative – however, had it been the other diagnosis, I would have gone STT (straight-to-test) under the pathway and had an MRI and biopsy within two days, and if that had results that required treatment, it would have been guaranteed to start within 31 days!
I can't tell you how reassuring that is when you are so worried about what the tests might tell you.
How was your overall experience at Cromwell Hospital?
It was my first time at Cromwell Hospital, and I was massively impressed! It felt more like checking in to a spa treatment session than into a hospital, but I soon realised it was the latter not the former.
Every person I met and spoke to was so nice, so understanding and so professional, which made the whole experience less stressful at a really worrying time. It was very efficient, organised, and a great service from everyone I saw.
Would you recommend Cromwell Hospital’s prostate pathway?
Why wouldn’t you want to have the guarantee of a test if you met the criteria? And, if you needed further treatment, you would get this way quicker than not using the pathway.
To get peace of mind so quickly when I was so worried was amazing – it is such a worrying time when you think that you may have cancer. I felt looked after the whole way through and would recommend it to anyone. I live on the South Coast but was happy to make my own travel arrangements in order to have this superb service.
What would you say to people who are concerned about having prostate cancer?
Get tested! Speak to experts and get a diagnosis quickly.