A story written by Dominic Horsley and published in the Yorkshire Evening Post claims that in May a 41 year old prostate cancer survivor from Woodlesford was referred to specialists at Leeds St James’s Hospital. He claimed that he had aches in his lower body but says t consultants told him that he was told he was “too young” to have prostate cancer. The making this determination the specialists didn’t consider that his father had already been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
When he went to the Hospital he was told that he had prostatitis, an infection of the prostate. Despite his history this he was not given additional tests until September. He was then found to have a Gleason grade 9 tumor as well as a spread of the prostate cancer to his right leg and to his pelvis. His senior consultant properly recommended that he should be treated with docetaxel chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy and hormone treatment.
When he arrived at the hospital for his first chemo session he was told that due to funding issues he would have to pay £1,400 himself for the chemotherapy treatment or that he could have the chemo for free in Huddersfield or Manchester.
“All I’m trying to do is extend my life and get some quality and I got landed with a bill for my treatment or told I should go to Manchester or Huddersfield and that’s not acceptable,” he said. “I live in Leeds, I was born in that hospital.” Clinicians also told him he should be within minutes of the hospital in case the chemotherapy causes him to become unwell.
His family has complained to Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s (LTH) Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) over both the delay in his diagnosis and the chemo payment problem.
The survivor, Mr Horsley said: “My outcome could have been a lot different. I was told I was too young. I’m not going to question it because you trust these people. You shouldn’t be fobbed off, you need to ask questions.”
LTH claims the funding issue relates to the fact that NHS England does not routinely pay for Docetaxel chemotherapy for prostate cancer in men who are not castrate resistant! This is despite the results from the STAMPEDE Trial that included men living in Britain and Switzerland. The trial found that earlier treatment in men with aggressive prostate cancer (including men with Gleason 9 tumors) and who are still hormone therapy naive can extend life expectancy from 43 to 65 months.
In response to this individual people have responded and already raised over £2,100 to assist Mr. Horsey defray his costs by starting a crowd funding web page. This is an example for us to always remember that young men also get prostate cancer. It also reminds us of the innate kindness of so many people in the world.