Town Hall packed out as Redditch men flock for prostate cancer test - The Redditch Standard

Town Hall packed out as Redditch men flock for prostate cancer test

Ross Crawford 12th Oct, 2019   0

PROSTATE cancer is a disease that kills 10,000 men every year in the UK – the equivalent of a Jumbo Jet going down every ten days, says retired consultant urologist David Baxter-Smith.

And last Saturday just shy of 200 men aged 50 and over, including Redditch Standard editor Ross Crawford, attended a free PSA blood testing day at Redditch Town Hall.

The PSA test can give an indication of prostate cancer, however it isn’t conclusive, “but is the best test we have at the moment,” said Mr Baxter-Smith.

The event had been organised by Redditch Lions Club and paid for by funds raised through the initiative of keen angler and prostate cancer survivor Jim Burton (see side panel).

Mr Baxter-Smith, who has given evidence to the House of Commons on the need for a national prostate cancer screening programme, was there to brief us and explain the PSA test, why local family doctors were frequently reluctant to offer it (cost and an unwillingness to cause alarm) and what to do when we get our results in a fortnight’s time.

On the day the Town Hall was abuzz with people.

Brilliantly organised by Redditch Lions, we were greeted at one table, sent to a side room to fill out our details, given a number – ’88’ for me – and told to wait in the council chamber.

In turn groups of us were ushered in to meet Mr Baxter-Smith to receive a final briefing and ask any questions, before returning to the council chamber to await our test.

Among us was a man from Lichfield who had been refused a PSA test by his GP but had seen our story in last week’s paper, there were blokes brought along by their wives and others, like me, just wanting to make sure we were okay.

The woman who took my blood, like them all, was a volunteer, and within minutes I was back outside, job done.

“The day has been a great success and we particularly wanted to do this in the centre of Redditch so we could be accessible to as many men as possible,” said Carol Andrews from Redditch Lions.

A PSA test costs about £15 to carry out and analyse.

Our day was free of charge thanks to the efforts of Jim Burton from Kings Norton.

Eight years ago when Jim was 60 he went for a ‘well man’ check up at his local GP surgery.

He told his doctor he felt fine, but got up a couple of times in the night to pee, but that could be down to having a couple of beers.

His GP sent him for a PSA test; more tests followed at the QE and it was found he had an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

He had his prostate removed, but that didn’t kill the cancer and 37 shots of radiotherapy followed. Now he is in good health.

“I advised my fishing mates to also get a PSA test, but when asked by their GP if they had any symptoms and they said no, they were all turned down,” said Jim.

“I heard that Shirley Lions were doing a screening, so I went along – but 50 guys were left outside. I asked if they were going to do another day for them, but was told it had cost £4,000 just for that day, so I said, I’ll get you that £4,000.”

Inspired, Jim set about fundraising by charging anglers across the region a peg fee for fishing, last year raising £8,000.

“I fully funded two screenings and part funded another and we found more than 70 guys who had prostate cancer but didn’t know about it.

“One in eight men will get prostate cancer but if we can help detect it early enough, then it’s all worthwhile.”


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