Prostate cancer patient from Glemsford backs Macmillan awareness campaign as referral rates decline due to coronavirus outbreak
A prostate cancer patient, who radically altered his lifestyle following his shock diagnosis last year, has urged men not to overlook potential indicators of the disease, as referral rates drop nationwide.
Macmillan Cancer Support kicked off a new awareness push this month, in response to data showing that fewer people are seeking help for possible signs of cancer, due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The campaign is backed by Glemsford resident Dave Marshall, who says the current pandemic must not cause people to ignore other health ailments, having been diagnosed with prostate cancer in February 2019, after overlooking certain symptoms for some time.
The 71-year-old explained he had experienced rectal bleeding and difficulty urinating for some time, but did not get checked for some time because of lack of awareness about cancer.
“Men live with the symptoms of prostate cancer and don’t even know it,” he said.
“They will put up with the symptoms, because either they believe there’s something else wrong or they try to hide the truth.
“I think it’s extremely common. We all think we’re these big, strong, burly blokes but the bottom line is most men are wimps, most men don’t like going to the doctor.
“I think it’s far better to know what’s wrong with you, for your sake and the sake of those around you.
“I didn’t believe I had any chance of having cancer whatsoever. You can divide society into optimists and pessimists and I just thought it would be something else. It never even entered my head at that stage.”
After a growth was discovered in his prostate, Dave underwent radiotherapy treatment every day for four weeks.
The experience also inspired him to shed three stones in weight through exercise, healthy eating and cutting out alcohol.
Since completing his treatment, he has taken blood tests every six months to check for any possible increases in his PSA levels – an indicator of prostate cancer – and is currently isolating at home during the coronavirus lockdown.
Dave, a member of Bury St Edmunds Golf Club, stated he fears more lives may be put at risk if people do not seek medical advice, because they are concerned about burdening their local doctor’s surgery or risking infection, and called for people not be become complacent about their health.
“There are many things being put on hold by this virus, but if your body is in trouble it simply cannot wait a few months,” he said.
“Time makes all the difference when it comes to prostate cancer, because the earlier the diagnosis, the better your chance of surviving, or living longer with it.
“Coronavirus is not an excuse to stick your head in the sand.”
Macmillan Cancer Support advises any men who have difficult urinating, need to go to the toilet more often than usual, or have blood or pain upon urination to book an appointment with their GP.
For further information and advice, call the charity’s support line on 0808 808 0000 or go to www.macmillan.org.uk.
More by this authorThomas Malina
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