Hornchurch bus driver returned to work days after pioneering cancer treatment

Robert Duncan spent £20,000 on pioneering prostate cancer treatment in the Czech Republic and says h

Robert Duncan spent £20,000 on pioneering prostate cancer treatment in the Czech Republic and says he was able to return to work the next day. - Credit: Archant

A Hornchurch bus driver who spent £20,000 on pioneering prostate cancer treatment in the Czech Republis says he returned to work the following day.

Robert Ducan, 64, from Carnforth Gardens underwent a 10-day course of proton beam therapy in May after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

For Robert, the only warning sign that he had prostate cancer was a more frequent urge to visit the bathroom.

He was given a PSA test which measures the level of prostate-specific antigen in the blood. A high reading can indicate the presence of cancerous cells.

“To start with my PSA was 6.1 but before long it had gone up to 8.1,” said Robert.

“I was referred to Queen’s Hospital in Romford and by then it was up to 13.1.

“I went to see a specialist and they said they wanted to cut out my prostate completely.”

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Concerned about the risks the Hornchurch bus driver looked for alternatives, including Chinese therapy which involved acupuncture.

He found out about the case of Ashya King who was five-years-old when his parents took him to Prague for proton therapy. He is now cancer free.

After travelling to Prague for blood tests and a MRI scan, Robert eventually underwent five fractions of treatment across 10 days.

The treatment involves using positively charged particles to target cancer cells with pencil point precision.

“You hear people in England talking about chemotherapy and other cancer treatments having a really tough, gruelling time, so that’s sort of what you expect.

“But I actually found proton therapy to be quite relaxing. It didn’t feel like I was having cancer treatment at all.

“There was no pain whatsoever and I would have my treatments in the morning and then I would spend my afternoons exploring Prague.

“I couldn’t believe how painless it was.”

Robert’s PSA level is now down to 0.1 which he expects rise slightly after hormone treatment finishes but says that he feels, “much better”.

“Being a bus driver is not like sitting at a desk, you can’t just nip to the toilet when you need to.

“I’ve now found a doctor who knows and understands proton therapy and I’ve just had my one year anniversary since treatment.”