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'I'm living with cancer but I still run my farm every day'


Pat McDonagh on his farm in Drumcliff, Co Sligo

Pat McDonagh on his farm in Drumcliff, Co Sligo

Brian Farrell

Pat McDonagh on his farm in Drumcliff, Co Sligo

Retired teacher Pat McDonagh was diagnosed with prostate cancer last June after having regular tests at his GP's surgery over the years.

Pat (69), from Castletown in Drumcliffe, Co Sligo, says he is one of several local men who have the disease.

"So far I have not had any treatment. I was referred to the Galway clinic where I saw urologist David Bouchier Hayes."

He decided to do a biopsy and it showed Pat had a tumour in more than 50pc of one core and about 10pc of another.

The dilemma was whether to "watch and wait" or treat it early.

"It was recommended I do a Prolaris test to determine my prognosis," he said.

"It indicated that my overall risk of dying from the cancer in 10 years was 2pc with conservative management, and I was considered low risk.

"The doctor decided the best course of action was active surveillance rather than treatment," said Pat.

"The result has eased the worry that I am not on the critical list. It's encouraging to be told that it's likely to be a slow-growing tumour."

Pat leads an active life on his farm after teaching in Ballinrobe College in Sligo for more than 40 years.

"I get my bloods checked every three months. I know of three other men who have had surgery for prostate cancer. It seems to be very prevalent."

Mr Bouchier Hayes says he believes the Prolaris test has the potential for significant savings.

It can allow doctors to advise against intensive and expensive treatments when they are inappropriate for the patient in question.

"It reduces the risk of over-treatment and possible side-effects or, more worryingly, under-treatment for a potentially lethal cancer."

Irish Independent