A MAN who spent £34,000 on treatment abroad after being diagnosed with prostate cancer has urged the NHS to increase funding for the ‘amazing’ cure.

Duncan Gregory, an engineer from West Hendred, near Wantage, was given the devastating diagnosis just days before last Christmas.

The 58-year-old was advised to either have surgery to remove the tumour or radiotherapy – both of which have the potential to cause impotence and incontinence.

Despite a negative response from doctors at the Churchill Hospital in Headington, Mr Gregory decided to instead opt for proton therapy, a treatment funded by the NHS since 2008 but only on a case by case basis.

The therapy uses a high-energy beam of protons, rather than X-rays, to deliver radiotherapy for patients, reducing the risk of damage to other healthy organs.

Mr Gregory and his wife went to the Proton Therapy Centre in Prague, Czech Republic, in February, first for three days of testing and then for 21 treatments over 33 days.

The father of two said: “Everything was state of the art, a CT scan that took 55 minutes in Oxford took just seven in Prague. Each treatment only lasted 15 minutes and there were no side effects.

“The idea is the beam is so precise it burns away the tumour but nothing else is damaged. It was amazing.”

He returned to the UK at the end of May and has had two checks since then which show his prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels are now normal –the level is high in men with prostate cancer.

The treatment cost £29,000 and along with accommodation, flights and expenses he spent £34,000, but Mr Gregory said he has no regrets.

He added: “I want to let people know that this option is out there. I realise not many people will be able to afford to do what I did but at least if they know more pressure can be put on the NHS to bring it to patients here.

“The NHS is so blinkered about treatment, it’s either their way or nothing.”

“The whole thing has changed me and the way I think, instead of worrying ‘can I afford this?’ I just got on with it because no one knows how long we are going to get.”

An NHS England spokesperson said: “The NHS does fund proton beam therapy in this country and internationally where top doctors say it is advantageous, but it is not proven to be a better treatment for prostate cancer than the best options already available on the NHS.

“Together with the Department of Health we are also now funding the development of two new world class PBT centres in Manchester which will open in 2018 and in London in 2020 to treat an estimated 1,500 cancer patients a year.”

Annually more than 7,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the South East of England and around 1,500 men die from the disease.