IT’S ONE of the biggest killers of men in the UK but an initiative to tackle prostate cancer hopes to attract thousands to have a free check-up.
The Rutherford Cancer Centre Thames Valley and the Reading Lions Club, a volunteer organisation in Berkshire, have teamed up to provide thousands of men in Berkshire with free prostate cancer checks, known as the PSA test, on 16 November.
With over 47,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK each year – or 130 a day, and over 11,000 men dying from the disease per year. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the biggest killer of male cancer patients in the UK.
The PSA test is a simple blood test that is used to check for a protein produced by prostate cancer cells. A raised level through a blood test could indicate cancerous cells. It will be held at the Rutherford Cancer Centre Thames Valley for the first time, which offers pioneering proton beam therapy as well as conventional cancer treatments.
Dr Christopher Blick, consultant urologist at the Rutherford Cancer Centre, said: “It is very important that men are aware of the risks of prostate cancer and when it is likely to occur. Whilst in most cases it will occur in later life, it is still possible for men in their 50s or even late 40s to get prostate cancer.”
“This is an opportunity to raise the profile of prostate cancer and offer concerned men a blood test courtesy of the Reading Lions Club. Men who have a raised PSA will be contacted and advised on their next steps.”
To undertake a PSA test privately would typically incur a cost of £120 – £160.
Chris Howes, 48, from Bradfield Southend, Berkshire, attended a Reading Lions Club PSA test event last year. His blood test showed a slightly raised PSA. A targeted biopsy confirmed mild to moderate cancer. Chris subsequently underwent treatment and has been cancer free since.
Chris has urged men to not delay getting a check-up: “I was extremely fortunate to come to this event and have a test which flagged up a potential problem. I was completely symptomless, were it not for this test, my cancer would have been left undiagnosed. Today I am completely cancer free, I was back at work two weeks after my surgery and I urge everyone not to delay getting themselves tested. It simply is not worth the risk of delaying.”
Alan McMahon, 71, from Emmer Green, also attended last year’s event after coming across a Reading Lions leaflet promoting the event.
“I learned of the event after my wife and I were given a Lions’ leaflet in Costa, Caversham regarding the Prostate Cancer awareness day they were having. Previously unaware of this programme we thought it was an excellent opportunity for me, even though I was totally symptomless regarding the cancer and apparently in very good health. I had my blood test and, when I received the Lions result letter, I was shocked to see that my PSA reading was abnormally high. I immediately contacted my GP and she referred me to a specialist urologist at the Royal Berks.”
“I am so pleased and relieved that I had responded to the Lions’ flyer. After a month of Radiotherapy I was placed on a three-monthly hormone injection programme and my PSA reading is now virtually Zero. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Lions have saved my life as the cancer was caught just in time before it spread elsewhere. I cannot stress enough how important it is that ALL men over 50 be tested and therefore take advantage of this event at the Rutherford centre and book a test.”
The Rutherford cancer centre and the Reading Lions Club hope to test over a thousand men on the 16th November. It is considered the biggest single prostate cancer test event in the world.
In 2018, Over 2000 men attended the Reading Lions event for a PSA blood test, of those over 100 patients were subsequently seen by a specialist to discuss further investigations and 40 were found to have prostate cancer.
For more information or to book your free PSA test, please visit: https://www.therutherford.com/reading-lions-free-prostate-psa-test-event-2019/