Andy beats his toughest opponent yet, with the help of a robot

A former boxer has come through the biggest fight of his life by tackling prostate cancer, and is one of the 250 patients to go under the mechanical knife of the da Vinci robot at University Hospital in Coventry.

Former WBF Intercontinental Middleweight Champion, Andy Halder, 48, is now looking to raise awareness of prostate cancer and raise funds for on-the-spot blood tests to be provided at boxing events.

Andy said: “I’d had back pain for a bit, but one day I couldn’t move because of the pain, so I went to A&E. They did tests and the doctor was concerned and sent me to do a biopsy. I had never been sick before but if the doctor says do it then you do. The biopsy was the scariest bit.

“I want to get the message to the guys that nowadays with the robot instead of getting a 10 inch slit you get tiny scars and I got out in two days. All in all it was perfect; there is nothing to be scared of. Mr Donald MacDonald, my surgeon, did a fantastic job.”

Andy is now working with his friends in the boxing world to raise money and make sure that men get PSA tested. The PSA test is a blood test that measures the amount of prostate specific antigen in your blood. PSA is a protein produced by normal cells in the prostate and also by prostate cancer cells.

He said: “I don’t want to be remembered as a fighter, I want to be remembered as someone who raised awareness in my community and supported people to get help.

“There are number of boxing shows and events, so I don’t see why we can’t raise money to get a van so guys can get tested. It would only take five minutes. If you’re a man over 40 you should be getting the test.

“I am lucky, I got it caught and taken out. There may be others who have been struggling for years and it might have spread and they wouldn’t have the same options that I had.

“I want to thank Clive McIntosh, gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games, for supporting me through this.”

Andy is one of over 250 patients who have been operated on by the da Vinci robot since it started being used at University Hospital in Coventry in February 2014. Consultant Urological Surgeons Richard Bell, Kieran Jefferson and Donald MacDonald did 149 radical prostatectomies in 2015/16 which is six times more than the amount completed without the robot. This has also helped in reducing the amount of blood patients lose, and has reduced the time they have to recover in hospital.

Mr Donald MacDonald, who operated the robot, said: “It is fantastic to hear that Andy is doing well and is helping to raise awareness about prostate cancer.

“We are grateful to the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Charity and the Coventry Hospitals charity for enabling us to help people with this robot.

“There are a lot of advantages for patients in using the robot. Using open surgery it would take five days for people to recover in hospital and now it only takes one day, so it means that patients can get home much quicker.”