Main Menu

“I think the cancer is done now” – Gerry’s story


Gerry was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000. During Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, he tells us what research has brought him.

Posted on 29 March, 2022 by Gerry Carter

On the right is a photo of Gerry and Jenny on their wedding day in 1971. On the left is a photo of Gerry and Jenny on their Golden Wedding Anniversary cruise in 2021

Image: (left to right) Gerry and Jenny Carter on their wedding day in 1971, and on their Golden Wedding Anniversary in 2021. Credit: Gerry Carter.

I met my wife, Jenny, at the Court School of Dancing in Reigate, Surrey, in May 1968. All the guys lined up on one side of the room, and all the girls on the other.

If you had the guts, you went over and asked someone to dance, and I am very pleased to say I did have the guts that day.

Jenny and I celebrated our Golden Wedding Anniversary together last year, but 22 years ago I was told I might not be around to see it.

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in October 2000, when I was 53, and I hadn’t been expecting it at all.

I’d gone to the doctors because I had terrible pain passing urine, and I was told I had an infection and given antibiotics. The doctor had then said he’d refer me for a specialist appointment, which I’d told him not to worry about – obviously there was no need now I had antibiotics – but he explained urine infections were quite rare in men.

My consultant never mentioned cancer

I was referred to the hospital and had various tests, but I had no idea what they were looking for. Eventually, I had a biopsy on my prostate gland. The result was inconclusive, so they sent it on to a university nearby.

Throughout the testing, my consultant had never mentioned cancer.

So, when the university reanalysed my biopsy results, and a stand-in consultant said, ‘I can confirm you have cancer’, I could have fallen through the floor.

I was told I had a life expectancy of 10 years.

At this point, I thought ‘I’ve got to do something, or I won’t make it to 63’. Or I thought I might make it, but that I’d be really ill.

The consultant said they’d want me to take radical action, which meant either surgery or radiotherapy, but that we had a little bit of time to play with, as the cancer was ‘medium aggressive’, so I should think about what I wanted to do and come back in a month.

I looked into both options, and I talked about it with my wife and three children. In the end, I chose surgery. There were quite a few risks attached to the procedure, but it sounded like it would have a better chance at completely removing the cancer, which was what I wanted.

Gerry and Jenny with their children at the wedding of their daughter, Christine. From left to right: Jenny, their son Steven, their daughter Christine, Gerry, their daughter Angela

Image: Gerry and Jenny with their children at the wedding of their youngest daughter. From left to right: Jenny, Steven, Christine, Gerry, Angela. Credit: Gerry Carter.

I had the surgery in April 2001, and then had three months off to recover, before I went back to work.

‘I think the cancer is done’

After I’d recovered. I was able to slip back into my old routine fairly easily, although I do think my work probably let me take it easy for a bit.

I had PSA tests quite regularly for a while, and now I have them once a year. At my last test, my reading was 0.1.

I think the cancer is done now. After 20 years it hasn’t come back, so I’m 99% sure they caught it all.

Jenny and I went through the challenges of my cancer together, and we survived as a marriage.

Last year was our Golden Wedding Anniversary – 50 years of marriage feels like quite something today. We threw a little party at our local pub to celebrate, and then in the autumn, we went on a cruise through the Mediterranean.

It was really special. The weather was lovely, and the food was delicious. We got a suite with a balcony, not just a room, as it was a special time, and we decided we were going to enjoy it.

Jenny and I have a family of two daughters and a son, and now we have two grandsons. Thanks to cancer research, I’m still here to see them grow up.

I would encourage everyone to make themselves aware of the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer, and if you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your GP so you can get any tests, like the PSA test, that might be needed. We urgently need to see a screening programme for the early detection of cancer, because the sooner the cancer is caught, the better.

We are pioneering brand new genetic approaches with the aim of developing a test to pick out men at high risk of prostate cancer and ensure they are diagnosed early.

Find out more


prostate cancer PSA Patient stories screening prostate cancer awareness month
comments powered by Disqus