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Fighting prostate cancer - and winning

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John West, left, running the London Marathon  © The Daily Telegraph, Abbie Trayler-Smith - Fighting prostate cancer - and winning
John West, left, running the London Marathon © The Daily Telegraph, Abbie Trayler-Smith
What do Robert DeNiro, Roger Moore and Andrew Lloyd Webber have in common?

They are all prostate cancer survivors. The prostate is only the size of a walnut, but with over 35,000 new cases diagnosed each year, prostate cancer accounts for 25 percent of all cancers and is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths – after lung cancer – in men in the UK.

If you, or someone close to you, has been diagnosed, rest assured that the majority of prostate cancers are not lethal and will never even impact on the quality, or quantity, of life and if deemed necessary to treat, recent advances offer a strong hope for a full recovery.

For Prostate Cancer Awareness Month Angela West tells us about her dad, John’s experience of prostate cancer, which has proven to be prolific in her family.

At 62, fit as a fiddle and president of Carshalton Rotary club, he ran the London Marathon. Just three years later, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. At 65, some might say 'well, he's old,' but these days, it's more a case of being 65 years young. Above all, “he” is my dad! How could he possibly have cancer?

A year after having NHS surgery for kidney stones in June 2002, Dad had a final follow-up appointment, at which he expected to given a clean bill of health. Instead, he was informed that small particles of the stones remained, which could possibly cause problems in the future. ‘Not great news,’ he thought, ‘but it could be worse.’ He took this opportunity to mention to the doctor that a regular check of his PSA (prostatic specific antigen) had shown that it had jumped dramatically from the usual 4+.

In October 2003, he underwent a prostate biopsy, also known as trans-rectal ultrasound (TRUS). The tests results showed a Gleason score – the measurement that determines the seriousness of prostate cancer – of 3+2. Translation: cancer was present.


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