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Singer Elton John has just revealed that he almost died from complications after surgery for prostate cancer. It’s an important reminder for cancer survivors to practice self-care during and after treatment. The 72-year-old John says his cancer was discovered through routine screening, which is also an important lesson for men.

“They discovered it during a check-up, John writes in a memoir which is being excerpted in The Daily Mail. My doctor noticed the level of prostate- specific antigens in my blood had gone up slightly and sent me to an oncologist for a biopsy. It came back positive.

I wasn’t as shocked at hearing the word ‘cancer’ as I might have been. It was prostate cancer: no joke, but incredibly common. They’d caught it early, and besides, I’m blessed with a constitution that just makes me bounce back from illnesses.

John says that he opted for surgery to treat his prostate cancer because he wasn’t at all keen on the other option which involved a rigorous course of radiation treatments.

“A lot of times, people are like, look, I just want the tumor out. Just cut it out, and I want to be done. I say, great, surgery’s a good choice for you,” according to Dr. Stephen Freedland of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Freedland was interviewed for SurvivorNet’s guide to decision making around prostate cancer.

“It’s a big operation, and just because you have it with a robot doesn’t make it any less of a big operation,” says Dr. Freedland.

According to Elton John’s new book, his prostate surgery was performed in Los Angeles. Just ten days after the operation he went to perform in Las Vegas and started to suffer enormous pain during the concert. Doctors subsequently discovered it was a fairly uncommon complication from the surgery which involved fluid leaking from his lymph nodes.

“Prostate cancer surgery is typically done through a robotic technique today, at least in the United States. But a lot of patients are still getting open surgery. Depending on the surgeon, it may be two, three, four, five hours– somewhere in that range, usually spend one night in the hospital. You wake up from the surgery with a catheter in your bladder. Once you’re home, it’s really just recovering, gaining your strength back.The catheter comes out about 10 days after surgery. Whether you have it open or robotic, I tell patients it’s probably a good month or so until you’re really getting back to yourself,” according to Dr. Freedland.

By undertaking a performance so soon, John was clearly pushing the limits.

The star was forced to go back to hospital to deal with the problem – before doctors cured it, seemingly by chance.  ‘A routine colonoscopy shifted the fluid permanently, days before my 70th birthday.” However John subsequently had another devastating problem related to his lymph system which landed him back in the hospital and again in extremely serious condition. Thankfully, he was able to recover.

In the memoir, John writes:

“A couple of years ago David presented me with a sheet of paper. He’d written down a load of dates relating to our sons’ school life — when each term would start, how long the holidays were, the years they’d be moving from infants to juniors and then secondary school, when they’d be sitting exams. How much of this do you want to be around for?’ he asked. ‘You can work your tour schedules around it.’ I looked at the paper. It effectively mapped out Zachary and Elijah’s lives. By the time they reached the final dates on it, they’d be teenagers, young men. And I’d be in my 80s. ‘All of it,’ I said finally. ‘I want to be there for all of it.’ David raised his eyebrows. ‘In which case,’ he said, ‘you need to think about changing your life. You need to think about retiring from touring.’

“In a strange way, it felt like the time I spent recuperating was the answer to my prayers: if you want more time, you need to learn to live like this, you have to slow down.

Learn more about SurvivorNet’s rigorous medical review process.

Singer Elton John has just revealed that he almost died from complications after surgery for prostate cancer. It’s an important reminder for cancer survivors to practice self-care during and after treatment. The 72-year-old John says his cancer was discovered through routine screening, which is also an important lesson for men.

“They discovered it during a check-up, John writes in a memoir which is being excerpted in The Daily Mail. My doctor noticed the level of prostate- specific antigens in my blood had gone up slightly and sent me to an oncologist for a biopsy. It came back positive.

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I wasn’t as shocked at hearing the word ‘cancer’ as I might have been. It was prostate cancer: no joke, but incredibly common. They’d caught it early, and besides, I’m blessed with a constitution that just makes me bounce back from illnesses.

John says that he opted for surgery to treat his prostate cancer because he wasn’t at all keen on the other option which involved a rigorous course of radiation treatments.

“A lot of times, people are like, look, I just want the tumor out. Just cut it out, and I want to be done. I say, great, surgery’s a good choice for you,” according to Dr. Stephen Freedland of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Freedland was interviewed for SurvivorNet’s guide to decision making around prostate cancer.

“It’s a big operation, and just because you have it with a robot doesn’t make it any less of a big operation,” says Dr. Freedland.

According to Elton John’s new book, his prostate surgery was performed in Los Angeles. Just ten days after the operation he went to perform in Las Vegas and started to suffer enormous pain during the concert. Doctors subsequently discovered it was a fairly uncommon complication from the surgery which involved fluid leaking from his lymph nodes.

“Prostate cancer surgery is typically done through a robotic technique today, at least in the United States. But a lot of patients are still getting open surgery. Depending on the surgeon, it may be two, three, four, five hours– somewhere in that range, usually spend one night in the hospital. You wake up from the surgery with a catheter in your bladder. Once you’re home, it’s really just recovering, gaining your strength back.The catheter comes out about 10 days after surgery. Whether you have it open or robotic, I tell patients it’s probably a good month or so until you’re really getting back to yourself,” according to Dr. Freedland.

By undertaking a performance so soon, John was clearly pushing the limits.

The star was forced to go back to hospital to deal with the problem – before doctors cured it, seemingly by chance.  ‘A routine colonoscopy shifted the fluid permanently, days before my 70th birthday.” However John subsequently had another devastating problem related to his lymph system which landed him back in the hospital and again in extremely serious condition. Thankfully, he was able to recover.

In the memoir, John writes:

“A couple of years ago David presented me with a sheet of paper. He’d written down a load of dates relating to our sons’ school life — when each term would start, how long the holidays were, the years they’d be moving from infants to juniors and then secondary school, when they’d be sitting exams. How much of this do you want to be around for?’ he asked. ‘You can work your tour schedules around it.’ I looked at the paper. It effectively mapped out Zachary and Elijah’s lives. By the time they reached the final dates on it, they’d be teenagers, young men. And I’d be in my 80s. ‘All of it,’ I said finally. ‘I want to be there for all of it.’ David raised his eyebrows. ‘In which case,’ he said, ‘you need to think about changing your life. You need to think about retiring from touring.’

“In a strange way, it felt like the time I spent recuperating was the answer to my prayers: if you want more time, you need to learn to live like this, you have to slow down.

Learn more about SurvivorNet’s rigorous medical review process.

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