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Personal cancer story

Bob Holden

In 2011, I was feeling well with no health issues. I went to the doctor for a gout medication script and while I was there, the doctor performed a full clinical check. This check included a DRE (digital rectal examination) and blood tests. My bloods came back with a PSA of 2.3, which is quite low. However, my doctor thought she felt a lump inside so she referred me to a urologist.

Bob Holden

Being a typical bloke, I didn't think anything could be wrong with me so I "ummed" and "aahed" about going. I had no signs of any prostate or male problems and couldn't believe that something might be wrong with me. It was my wife who convinced me to make an appointment. After a chat and another examination, the urologist was still concerned that there might be something wrong with my prostate.

I was then referred for day surgery, where I had an anaesthetic and a full rectal examination. They took 24 biopsies of my prostate. A couple of days later – I'll never forget it – I received a phone call at 10 minutes to nine on a Thursday night, informing me that I had an aggressive form of prostate cancer and my prostate would need to be removed very quickly.

I remember thinking, "No way! I can't have prostate cancer!" The word ‘cancer’ absolutely floored me. I was set to marry my daughter off the following year and I started thinking of things like this that I would miss if I wasn't around. I was overwhelmed and in shock to say the least. I even questioned the doctor as to whether he had read the right pathology results.

A week passed and I was in Epworth Private Hospital having full robotic prostate removal surgery. After surgery, the doctors informed me that there was about a half a millimetre margin before the cancer could have spread to my kidneys, blood or other organs. Again, I couldn't believe it. From a trip to the doctor for gout medication, here I was after a prostate cancer diagnosis and now full prostate removal – so much had happened in such a short space of time.

My family was incredible during this time and there for me every step of the way. While the initial results left my wife and two adult children emotional and speechless, we got through it all as a family. My wife has been a diamond, my rock and sensational throughout the experience.

After surgery, I had a catheter for two weeks then another two weeks of rest and recovery. Following that, I was back at work and feeling 100%. There was no need for me to undergo further treatment and three years on I am feeling great and have had zero complications. My PSA levels are considered ‘untraceable’.

I believe my story is important to tell for men out there – I was 51 and feeling healthy, with no idea that I had an aggressive form of prostate cancer. I am so passionate about sharing my story to encourage other men stay on top of their health.

I have spoken at Charity Boys events and the Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia has approached me to be an ambassador, sharing my story with Australian men. I have always been completely open and honest about my story and I hope that by sharing my experience, I am able to help other men out there.

Cancer Council advises men who are concerned about prostate cancer to talk to their GP. 

Read more stories about people's personal experiences with cancer