'Get a prostate cancer blood test' support group urges

Banbury Cake: From left Bob Butler, George Goldsmith, Colin McMahaon, Dave Beesley, John Goldsmith and Avril Rawlins Buy this photo » From left Bob Butler, George Goldsmith, Colin McMahaon, Dave Beesley, John Goldsmith and Avril Rawlins

A cancer support group whose membership has soared in two years is hoping to branch out.

The Oxford Prostate Cancer Support Group – which has grown from 30 to 114 members since it was formed in 2011 – wants to set up a branch for African Caribbean men, and create another for people in the north of the county.

African Caribbean men are three times more likely to get prostate cancer than white men.

The group is urging men to have a simple blood test that will diagnose the disease.

Chairman Dave Beesley was diagnosed with prostate cancer in May 2011 and successfully underwent radiotherapy.

The Headington 64-year-old said: “We have to reach out to the Afro-Caribbean men. That is why we thought if we started a sub-group they might be more inclined to come along.”

Symptoms of prostate cancer can include:

  • Needing to urinate more frequently, often during the night
  • Needing to rush to the toilet
  • Difficulty in starting to urinate or pee (hesitancy)
  • Straining or taking a long time while urinating
  • Weak flow
  • Feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully
  • Symptoms that the cancer may have spread include bone and back pain, a loss of appetite, pain in the testicles, and unexplained weight loss.

Anyone concerned should see their GP. Visit nhs.uk for more information.Group members were raising awareness and giving out information at Tesco in Cowley Road, Oxford, on Monday.

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Men with prostate cancer do not always have symptoms, as support group member John Goldsmith discovered.

The Kidlington 69-year-old found he had the disease when he asked his GP to have the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test seven years ago. It found he had cancer and he had surgery to remove his prostate.

Mr Goldsmith, whose father died of the disease, said: “It absolutely saved my life. I had a chance conversation with an ex-nursing sister. Her father had died of prostate cancer, and she told me about the PSA test and I asked my doctor.

“Having seen what happened to my father, I am passionate about getting this message out.

“It can be detected by a blood test and they can get the disease sorted and you can get on with the rest of your life.

“I had absolutely no symptoms whatsoever and this is very often the case.”

Mr Beesley added: “If you know that your father, uncle or grandfather had prostate cancer, it is a good idea to go to your doctor – certainly when you are 40.”

Latest figures from NHS Oxfordshire show that 802 people under the age of 75 were diagnosed with prostate cancer in Oxfordshire from 2008 to 2010.

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