Taxi for cancer: Cab driver Andy hails the day a fare saved his life
The 63-year-old cab driver from Musselburgh was taking an old friend on a short hire three years ago when their brief conversation turned to getting tested for prostate cancer.
Coincidentally, Andy was due at his GP’s surgery that day for a routine cholesterol blood test.
On his friend’s recommendation, he asked for a PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test, a first step to diagnosing the disease available to men over 50.
Andy said: “I didn’t have any symptoms but my friend told me to ask for a blood sample from my prostate after he had the exact same chat with someone who’d been diagnosed that way.
“I decided to get it, not thinking for one second it was going to come back positive. But that’s exactly what happened.”
Andy wants to see more awareness raised among men to get checked early, as symptoms often don’t manifest until it’s too late.
He said: “I’m very lucky it was caught early.
“If it wasn’t for that encounter, I would never have thought to get checked and might not be still sitting here.”
A further biopsy in May 2015 confirmed the cancer had not spread outside his prostate gland.
Andy, then 60, went for a consultation at the Cancer Centre at Western General Hospital in Edinburgh to discuss various treatments.
These depend on individual circumstances and include radical prostatectomy surgery, which removes the whole prostate, and external beam radiotherapy.
Andy was advised to try permanent seed brachytherapy, a low dose-rate radiotherapy whereby tiny radioactive seeds are injected into the prostate. They release a steady dose of radiation that destroys cancer cells over several months.
“Radiotherapy treatment was impractical because I was working and I knew undergoing surgery to remove the gland could take a long time to recover,” said the divorced dad of one.
“I had the brachytherapy operation on a Friday and was out on Saturday.
“I did have symptoms afterwards, frequently going to the toilet and being in pain when I did, but it was part of the healing process and lessened over time.
“After six months my blood test revealed the treatment