Don’t delay seeing a doctor

by | December 28, 2012

A prostate cancer survivor shares his story and advice to others to have regular body check-ups.


Machine operator and father of two, Tan Kee How (not his real name), 52, was not the first to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his family. Before him, his elderly father, now deceased, was diagnosed with the cancer when he was in his 70s.

Go for regular body check-ups, Tan encourages.

Despite his late father’s experience with prostate cancer, Tan, did not think to consult the doctor early when he began to suffer from frequent urination. Instead, he suspected he
had early signs of diabetes.

In point of fact, Tan was correct to suspect that he may have diabetes because one of the early signs of diabetes is frequent urination. Urination becomes more frequent when there is too much glucose in the blood.


Worried about treatment & its effects

However, he did not have diabetes like he had thought but was diagnosed with stage two prostate cancer. Fortunately for Tan, it was a friend who advised him to go for a full body check-up in 2011, just to be on the safe side.

“I was shocked and terrified when I found out that I was suffering from prostate cancer,” said Tan. He was worried and was afraid about undergoing chemotherapy because of what he had heard about how other cancer patients had suffered from the treatment.

He said, “I was also worried about how the cancer treatment would affect my marriage and sex life; and whether or not I would be able to return to work and continue to work as normal.”

Despite his worries about castration and his loss of sex life, he did not hesitate to seek immediate doctor treatment and, to inform his wife as well as family. Said Tan, “I am blessed to have recovered as well as I did after my surgery in 2011. I am also happy to share that my sex life has now returned to normal.”

According to urologist, Dr Colin Teo, who heads the Department of Urology at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, his patient, Tan opted for robotic prostatectomy which is minimally-invasive with the added benefits of reduced bleeding and quick recovery compared to standard surgery and he had no chemotherapy.

Tan shared, “Just three months after the operation, I was able to get back to work and go back to my daily routine. I no longer suffer from any more problems of incontinence.”


More cautious

However, what has changed after his operation is that he has become more cautious with his diet and avoids eating foods like prawns and crabs (such foods were seen as poisonous in the olden days).

Tan advises his 26-year-old son, and elder brother, aged 60, to go for regular body check-ups. “It is better to be safe than sorry. I don’t want them to delay seeing a doctor like I did.” And advice to other seniors: “Don’t delay seeing the doctor or even seeking treatment. I have no regrets going for the operation.”


(** PHOTO CREDIT: jynmeyer, stock.xchng)



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