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Galway native uses light touch in seeringly honest story of his prostate cancer

The trials and tribulations of a prostate cancer diagnosis have been chronicled in a new book by a Galway native who says humour was a key part of his approach to dealing with the disease.

And it’s for that reason that New Inn native, Gerry Kelly, has titled his book ‘Prostate, Piddling and Passion’ – a play on his consultant’s guidance that they would deal with the prostate, continence and potence in that order of priority.

Gerry, who is in his sixties, has been living in Cork since 1975 where he worked as a woodwork teacher and school principal before his retirement. Following a fair bit of what he calls “nagging” from his wife Maura, went to his GP for a ‘once over’ in late 2021.

“I had gone for them previously and always got a clean bill of health, but there had been a year or so in Covid when I couldn’t get in for one.

“In the space of a year, my PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) had gone up,” recalls Gerry.

The medical advice was for surgery, to remove the prostate organ, and thankfully for Gerry, the cancer was contained and he hasn’t required further cancer treatment.

What comes after the surgery is detailed by Gerry in his book – more specifically, the piddling and the passion.

And while “it’s not all hilarious”, Gerry seeks humour in talking about rebuilding his pelvic floor, dealing with the impact on continence and the use of Viagra to deal with erectile dysfunction.

“After I got the surgery, I experience a bit of pathetic fallacy, I suppose. I couldn’t work or play golf or cycle for three months and I decided to buy a motorbike.

“There was a no horn on the bike and the tank was piddling leaking,” he laughs, “and I just thought to myself, this bike is me”.

“As I wrote in the book, I was able to get a horn for the bike from Hong Kong for €8. I gave the book to a friend to read and he said back to me that he hopes by now that my horn and the horn on the bike are in concert.”

The motivation for writing the book, says Gerry, was to remove some of the mystery surrounding prostate cancer and – in a light-hearted way – encourage men to look after their health, as so many fail to do.

“There is a cohort of men at great risk because they may be macho about it, or might not have anyone to encourage them to go get checked,” he adds.

“They will say things like ‘if I go to the doctor, they’ll only find something wrong with me’. But, sure, great if they do – at least you can deal with it then,” says Gerry.

A former Fine Gael Cork County Councillor, Gerry ran for the Dáil twice, narrowly missing out on a seat on both occasions.

He has since retired from politics as well as teaching and says he’s enjoying spending time with his four grandchildren and two adult children – and grateful for his recovery from cancer.

‘Prostate, Piddling and Passion’ is available to purchase on

Pictured: Gerry Kelly with his new book.

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