I took part in a research study that saved my life and will save many more
John Sutton, prostate cancer patient
Prostate cancer runs in my family. My father died of the disease when I was 25 and, years later, my brother Ray was also diagnosed with it. Luckily, it had been caught early and Ray was successfully treated.
I knew this put me at greater risk so, in 2011, I visited my GP, who told me about research led by Professor Ros Eeles at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research, London (ICR). The study aimed to better understand the genetic markers that cause prostate cancer, and the researchers were looking for people with a family history of the disease to take part. I was keen to be involved.
At the start of the study, I had a biopsy. It showed no evidence of cancer, but because I was at greater risk, I was told that my PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels would be monitored regularly, which I thought was a fantastic deal.
Over the next few years, there was a gradual increase in my PSA levels and, in 2015, the team decided to investigate. An MRI scan and another biopsy confirmed I had prostate cancer.
I was told the cancer was not in a dangerous spot, so I decided to go on active surveillance, which meant having regular tests and scans to monitor my cancer. That went on until 2017, when my PSA levels went up again and I was advised that I’d need treatment.
I was offered a number of treatment options, and I chose to have robotic surgery using the da Vinci surgical system to remove the cancer. The operation was a success. Some 15 months later, I was able to trek 140 miles in the Himalayas, which proved to me that I had fully recovered. Since the surgery, my PSA levels have been virtually zero and continue to remain undetectable. I will continue to be monitored by my local GP.
I feel unbelievably fortunate to have taken part in Professor Eeles’ study. I have received the best possible care and treatment at this wonderful hospital and my experience has underlined the importance of early diagnosis. It not only saved my life, it is absolutely paramount for saving many more, too.