The music producer was diagnosed with the disease last year and following a huge fundraising flew to the Proton Therapy Center in Prague, Czech Republic for treatment in February. Now back at home, Nicky is helping to raise awareness of high energy radiotherapy in a new video campaign for Proton Therapy UK.
“I’m very lucky to have had a life where I’ve managed to travel the world, mostly invited, DJing and performing at performing at festivals, events, and nightclubs all over the world. So it was a bit of a nasty shock to me when I found out I was ill. At the beginning I didn’t really want to tell people. And then one day I thought ‘you know what, I’m just going to tell everyone.” – Nicky Holloway
Nicky, known as one of the ‘Ibiza Four’, embarked on a fundraising drive to cover the cost of his treatment after deciding he did not want to undergo either of the options offered to him on the NHS – radiotherapy or a prostatectomy. He is very close to his fundraising target but still needs around £6,000.
Nicky added, “there’s been about 1200 people who have put in everything from a fiver to £1,000 so I’m very, very lucky. I like to think of them as my angels. It’s quite surprising how many people have contacted me since saying they want to get checked for prostate cancer. By me being honest about it I think I’ve helped other people.”
Prostate cancer has overtaken breast cancer to become the third biggest cancer killer in the UK, accounting for 11,819 deaths each year. In the UK one in eight men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives, but there’s no national screening programme.
“There’s nothing like breast cancer where there’s screening, nothing! Everyone in England should get a letter when they’re 50 reminding them to go and get a blood test. It’s nothing, it’s easy. But no one does it.”
Symptoms of the disease include frequent urination at night, interrupted urination, painful urination or ejaculation, or blood in the urine and sperm. Traditional external beam radiotherapy involves blasting cancerous cells with high-energy X-rays to kill them – but it can also damage healthy cells. Proton beam therapy works by accelerating protons until they reach half the speed of light and then targeting them at cancer cells with pencil-point precision. Unlike traditional radiotherapy, it can pinpoint the exact area to target, preserving healthy tissue in front of the tumour and preventing damage to the tissue behind it.
The technology is not currently available on the NHS in the UK.
Nicky said: “When they told me my options I thought to myself ‘there has to be some other way’. I spent months going private in Harley Street trying to find other options, none on which were available to me. As soon as they said I could come over I jumped on a plane and came over to Prague. I knew straight away, as soon as I walked in, after one brief meeting, I just said ‘yeah, that’s it, that’s the one for me. If you’re going to have a go at this I can’t think of a better place to do it, because it really is a lovely city. It feels like a weird holiday.”
Nicky has released an album – entitled ‘Pressure Makes Diamonds’ by Beats Workin’ as a thank you to fans who donated towards the cause. The album features vocals from Boy George and encapsulates the chilled out Ibiza vibes Nicky has become famous for.
Along with Paul Oakenfold, Johnny Walker, and Danny Rampling, Nicky travelled to the White Isle in 1987 and returned with the inspiration to transform the British club scene. They became known as the “Ibiza four”.
Doctor Jiri Kubes, medical director of the Proton Therapy Center said: “Proton therapy is unique because it’s the safest form of radiation therapy. We are one of the first centres in the world which is using pencil-beam scanning, the most advanced form of this form of therapy.”
Nicky’s Fundraising page can be found here