World-first prostate cancer treatment trialed in Tauranga

New Zealand's lack of COVID-19 cases saw a world-first prostate cancer surgery taking place in Tauranga.

Jim Boltman, 64, says his whole life is "back to normal" after undergoing the new surgery at Tauranga Hospital on October 8.

The 64-year-old was diagnosed with prostate cancer after realising he had a problem when he was constantly going to the bathroom.

At times, he was also passing blood, and as expected, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

"My whole life changed up until a month ago, now it's back to normal," Boltman told Newshub on Friday.

Initially developed to treat breast cancer, the 'Biolen' device has been adapted to deliver slow-release drugs directed into affected prostates.

Doctors inserted a tiny rod into affected areas of his prostate which slowly released a medicine called bicalutamide.

"I feel like I'm perfect, I feel like I'm fine… I could climb a mountain," he said.

For the 3700 kiwi men diagnosed with this cancer each year, and 'common' treatments include radiotherapy and prostate removal - both of which can have nasty side-effects.

The surgeon who carried out the operation is hopeful this new treatment will change all that. 

"What's exciting about this is it's minimally invasive, it can be done under local anaesthetic, and it's very painless, not an invasive procedure," Dr Mark Fraundorfer said.

In the next few months, 20 men in New Zealand and Australia will join the clinical study founded by Alessa Therapeutics.

Jim Boltman admits it's early days but hopes the benefits will stack up not just for himself but for others like him.

"Now I'm good to go and I hope this makes a difference for other men down the line, I pray that it does."