12 January 2024

Ian Dawkins, Group Leader of the Salisbury Prostate Cancer Support Group and prostate cancer survivor, shares his personal journey with prostate cancer in his own words.

I was enjoying some time with my family at Goolwa when I received a call from my specialist informing me that my biopsy had come back positive with a Gleason 9 prostate cancer score.

In some ways my prostate cancer diagnosis was not unexpected but my Gleason score was.

My name is Ian Dawkins, I’m 74, married with three children and seven grandchildren. In 2021 I was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer, with mets to my lymph gland and bones, one to my spine and the other to my shoulder.

For nearly twenty years I had been monitoring my PSA, that rose from 4 to 14. Initially I was diagnosed with an enlarged prostate, but then as my PSA got higher I was referred to a Urologist. After several MRI it was discovered that I had a lesion in my prostate that had grown from 4mm to 10mm. At one stage I was offered a biopsy that I declined.

The reason for this was that I had researched prostate cancer and thought, that if it was prostate cancer it would be slow growing. This was my biggest mistake.

If I had a biopsy when it was offered my prognosis would have been different. Anyway, I finally had the biopsy and then followed that up with a PSMA scan and then radiation to the prostate and lymph gland. I also commenced ADT.

I had very few side effects from the ADT, just the usual flushes and a little weakness. During this time I maintained a healthy diet with exercise. After two years of ADT I decided in conjunction with my specialist to take a holiday from it. My last PSA was 0.01.

After my diagnosis I had a desire to start a prostate cancer support group in Salisbury. I wanted to encourage men to know, that despite their diagnosis there was hope and that treatments were available for them.

I want to encourage men to have a PSA test and if recommended have a biopsy. Also to temper your research with sound medical advice.

I want to thank my wife and family for their unwavering support and also God, in whom I have placed my trust. Ian