Blasted by seeds: Tom McGrath's Story


One man's story of his chance diagnosis of prostate cancer, and his road to recovery with brachytherapy

Tom McGrath was a fit and seemingly healthy 54-year old when he changed his doctor to one closer to his home in Wellington, New Zealand. His new General Practitioner ran a comprehensive health check, including the prostate-specific-antigen (PSA) test that indicates risk of prostate cancer. When the test returned an elevated result indicating cancer the news came as a shock for Tom.

"The scariest thing is if I had not changed doctor I might not even know now that I had prostate cancer," says Tom.

A biopsy confirmed that the presence of a tumour that was still confined to the prostate gland. Tom and his wife, author Julia Millen, began to assess treatment options.

Tom leads an active life with recreational interests of Latin American dancing, mountain biking and ocean swimming. He looked for a treatment with the best chance of preserving his quality of life as well as killing the cancer.

Despite LDR brachytherapy’s long history in New Zealand, Tom said he was not initially told it could be an option for him. He discovered the treatment through reading a book on prostate cancer.