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Profile of Ron Reid Living with the Silent Killer

In July 1993 I began to experience difficulty in passing urine, a slower than normal stream, delay in starting, the urge to pass urine more often and a feeling of not emptying my bladder completely.
This all led me to visit my GP particularly over the concerns in emptying my bladder.  My  GP carried out a Digital Rectal Examination [DRE] which is an internal examination of the prostate through the rectal wall, an uncomfortable experience. He  diagnosed Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia [BPH] an enlargement of the prostate gland. 
The size of the gland led my GP to send me to Kings' College Hospital to have a blood test called a PSA [Prostate Specific Antigen].  Within three weeks I had the results. 

My PSA showed a high reading which prompted my GP to recommend I take course of Alpha-blockersAlpha-blockers work by causing the muscles in the prostate and the neck of the bladder to relax, which in turn relieves obstruction therefore, increases the ability of urine flow.  The most common in use at this time was Tamsulosin [Flomax].  I continued to take Flomax for nine years with some relief.
In 2002 the difficulties increased, causing retention, leakage, painful ejaculation and prostatitis.  This alarming change became a major concern to me and my family and prompted my GP to send me to Kings' College Hospital to see an Urologist who carried out various examinations and recommended I have a biopsy of the prostate.

The results of the biopsy showed no signs of cancer, however, I was put on a course of 5 Alpha reductase inhibitors; these are used to slow the growth of the prostate gland. 

Some studies have shown that 5 Alpha reductase inhibitors can reduce the prostate volume by about 20%.  The most commonly used at the time was Finasteride [Proscar].

In May 2003 on returning to see the Consultant Urologist at Kings’ College Hospital I was introduced and recommended to a new process, Vaporization.  Vaporization or Photo Selective Vaporization of the Prostate [PVP].  was developed and pioneered in the USA.  I was not part of any study but, was the thirty first people in the UK to have a PVP.
This operation is not suitable for prostate cancer and is only used for partial removal of an enlarged gland.  It entails the use of a small camera, immense heat around the prostate gland and extraction of tissue at the same time.  The operation took just under 4 hours and 50% of my prostate gland was removed in the process.  The healing process started with a super pubic incision and the insertion of a catheter to drain urine from my bladder and took six months.  My quality of life has improved and restored in all areas.
 At age fifty four alarm bells began to ring when I experienced these urinary problems.  I was ignorant of the location and purpose of the prostate gland in my body so was at a total disadvantage.

My lack of knowledge led me to do a number of things, firstly my learning process started by being inquisitorial about my condition with my GP. 

I also read a paper back,"PROSTATE CANCER WHAT EVERY MAN SHOULD KNOW" by Philip Dunn, first published by Ostrich Publishing, Langworth, Lincoln in 1996.  This further increased my knowledge of the subject.
With assistance from a colleague, Bob Bicheno and the Group Aston Mansfield, together with a close friend, Alf Grazette we researched the subject of Prostate Conditions and planned to start a support group for local men with similar problems.
In 2004  Alf and I applied for and were awarded a small grant from Newham Sector Voluntary Consortium [NSVC] to launch the Association for Prostate Awareness [APA].  

In 2005 the current Vice Chair Person Mrs. Sonia Harding recommended APA for an award which the Association won for promoting the awareness of prostate conditions  in North East London.

Prostate cancer is slow growing in older men but can also affect men from age forty and sometimes at an earlier age therefore,
Men, never to ignore the warnings, [weak flow, retention, painful ejaculation, self denial with vain excuses].
Speak to your spouse or partner and, certainly consult your GP.
Never fail to exercise your rights, be inquisitorial, GP's must not ignore your request for a DRE or a PSA it is your democratic right by Law, through your contributions to the NHS. 
You do not have to suffer in silence with the "Silent Killer".

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