Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Stephen Fry: How I Dodged My Cancer Bullet; Star and His Surgeon Give 'Both Sides of the Scalpel' Story to Encourage Others

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Stephen Fry: How I Dodged My Cancer Bullet; Star and His Surgeon Give 'Both Sides of the Scalpel' Story to Encourage Others

Article excerpt

Byline: Ross Lydall Health Editor

STEPHEN FRY today told how he "really dodged a bullet" by deciding to undergo an operation for prostate cancer.

The actor joined forces with his surgeon, Ben Challacombe, to describe the realities of robotic surgery to help other men considering having their prostate removed.

Fry said he felt "very, very, very lucky and privileged" to have made a full recovery while Mr Challacombe revealed his nerves at operating on a "national treasure" and the fear of something going wrong.

Their "both sides of the scalpel" article in a medical journal gives an extraordinary insight into the realities of treating prostate cancer, the most common cancer in UK men, killing 12,000 a year.

The operation was performed privately in January last year at Princess Grace hospital in Marylebone.

Fry's doctor had found his PSA levels an indicator of cancer to be "higher than he liked". An MRI scan found there was "something mischievous going on in the prostate region", Fry said. He underwent an ultrasound and biopsy, which he described as "these charming intrusions into my personal space". His prostate was found to be "seriously diseased" and he worried about the cancer cells moving around his body.

"I had watched enough episodes of my friend Hugh Laurie's medical drama House to feel I knew all about that dark word 'metastasis'," he wrote.

He opted for surgery in preference to radiotherapy and hormone treatment, fearing the latter might slow him down "cognitively or creatively". He wrote: "I've seen what spaying does to a tomcat and I wanted no part of it."

When he awoke "without any pain or discomfort" he thought the operation hadn't taken place.

He was walking two or three miles a day several weeks after surgery. The following month he was able to travel to the US. …

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