Sinn Fein TD Sean Crowe reveals cancer battle
Published 16/02/2016 | 17:08
Brave TD Sean Crowe has spoken for the first time about his battle with prostate cancer and urged men to get themselves checked.
Mr Crowe (58) has been forced to temporarily use a colostomy bag following operations last summer that ultimately saved his life.
Luckily, the cancer was discovered in good time and the TD has been able to take to the hustings in his bid secure re-election in the Dublin South West constituency.
He and his election team were battling the cold over the weekend to deliver leaflets.
Mr Crowe had his prostate removed in June last year. However, complications from the surgery led to a tear in his bowel and he had to be hospitalised again, undergoing a second major operation.
"I'm really one of the lucky ones who caught the cancer in time," the TD told the Herald.
Mr Crowe has urged all men over 40 to get checked for the killer cancer, which hits around one in seven men in a lifetime.
"No matter how embarrassing or uncomfortable you think this may be, it's not worth the risk of leaving a cancer unattended," he said.
"There are other men out there who are probably walking around at this very moment, oblivious to the fact that they may have this time bomb, this cancer ticking away.
"They need to get themselves checked. Sure it's uncomfortable, but it's the right and sensible thing to do."
Mr Crowe warned that treatment options are limited the later a cancer is discovered.
"I had choices and the choice for me was surgery to remove the prostate and therefore the cancer," he said.
Mr Crowe has been in the hospital system for five years after irregularities became apparent and his PSA blood count continued to rise.
The PSA is a protein measured by doctors and a high count can indicate the presence of prostate cancer.
The politician initially went to Tallaght Hospital where medics kept monitoring his PSA levels. He knew something was wrong when he had to often go to the toilet.
But nothing could prepare him for the devastating moment that he found out he had cancer.
Mr Crowe's doctor had arranged an appointment at St James's Hospital and they performed a biopsy.
"They brought me in to the consultant and he said 'you've cancer,'" he said.
After meeting with both a radiation oncologist and his consultant, he opted for robotic surgery.
Following the operation, Mr Crowe said that he initially felt good, but his body went into meltdown when he got home and his temperature rocketed.
Doctors then found a tear in his bowel, resulting in the need for a second surgery.
"The bowel surgeon advised me I was very ill and that this operation was potentially lifesaving," he said.
Luckily for Mr Crowe, the surgery was successful and recent tests have indicated that he is almost cancer free.
"So no matter what the option to act and have the prostate removed was the right choice for me," he stressed. "I will be monitored for the next number of years."