In 2017 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer – low/medium grade with a Gleason score of 3/4. It was initially suggested that I watch and wait, but my Dad had died of prostate cancer so I wanted to know what treatment options were available.
I chose to go private because I had medical insurance with work and, with my family history, I wanted to get treatment straight away rather than living with a condition that could potentially get worse. Because I was relatively young, I didn’t want an invasive operation.
That’s when my consultant suggested Professor Mark Emberton. I conducted my own research online and discovered he was one of the few practitioners specialising in NanoKnife treatment for localised prostate cancer.
Electroporation (NanoKnife) is a relatively new procedure that involves passing electric currents directly into the tumour via a needle to kill off cancerous cells. As Professor Mark Emberton, Professor of Interventional Oncology and Dean of the UCL Faculty of Medical Sciences, explains, “Electroporation is a surgical procedure developed to help treat certain cancerous tumours, including cancer of the prostate, using pulses of electricity. The treatment is delivered via needle punctures to the skin, where an electric current passed through the needles damages the cell membranes of the cancerous cells, which then shrink and die. It is a low risk and effective way to treat prostate cancer that has not spread to other areas of the body.” King Edward VII’s Hospital is currently the only place you can receive this treatment privately in the UK.
When I had my initial consultation, Mark made me feel very comfortable. He was honest and explained the pros and cons to me. At this time, he’d completed about 200 of these procedures and emphasised that it was successful, and the side effects were a lot less than any other treatments. This was November.
The following January we met again, and I went in for my operation in February. Mark came to see me before the procedure to discuss the results of my high intensity MRI scan. He reassured me that, although the
location of the tumour was higher than initially thought, he was confident of a good outcome.
An MRI after two weeks confirmed that the NanoKnife had totally covered the cancerous area. Three months later, my PSA level was back to normal and has been maintained at normal levels since – three and a half years later.
I last saw Mark at King Edward VII’s Hospital in 2020. He called me into his office where he had two screens showing images of my prostate. He asked if I could tell the difference between the two pictures. When I said ‘No’, he said, ‘Neither can I’ and confirmed I was in remission! Since then, we’ve been relying on phone conversations due to COVID-19, but this hasn’t affected the level of service he provides.
You just get the impression Mark knows his subjects excellently and he’s very straight forward. He tells you exactly what he’s going to do, what the risks are and what the outcome is going to be. He leaves you in no doubt and gives you so much confidence. Of course, he’s a busy man, his waiting room is always full, but he makes you feel like he’s concentrating on you all the time.
I would very much recommend Mark Emberton to others. He put me at ease but, at the same time, let me know what the downsides would be. He was also more than happy to explain things to my wife. He has a very good team around him. The nurses, both male and female, are easy to talk to and make you feel relaxed.
Mark champions the use of the latest technologies and is very keen to use MRI to diagnose rather than rely on biopsies alone. He’s a great believer that this type of treatment is more effective if you can cure the person rather than having someone living with the condition. As a cancer survivor in remission, I’m eternally grateful for his care and expertise.
- If you think you have a vesicovaginal fistula or urinary complication and would like further advice, try speaking to your GP. (Don’t have a GP?)
- To discuss your symptoms with Professor Emberton, you can contact us to book an appointment
- Additionally our Urology Department can provide further information and assistance in managing your symptoms.