I was 54 when I was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer.
I’d been getting up six or seven times a night to go to the loo but thought it was just because I was getting older and that ‘these things happen’. My wife noticed and told me I had to go to the doctor. I think I was probably aware of the symptoms but, being a bloke, didn’t really think cancer would happen to me.
Fast forward, and I found myself sitting down with my two daughters and telling them they were likely to lose their Dad within a few years. Now, my goal is to see my youngest graduate. Worrying about discussing my initial concerns with my doctor seems so insignificant in comparison.
Men are more likely to get cancer but less likely to get help or talk about any worrying symptoms. I’ve been really open with my friends about my cancer diagnosis and treatment and I think it’s really helped all of us. Yes, we have a bit of a joke about it, we call it tumour humour, but I can honestly say no-one judges anyone else and we all listen sympathetically. About three of them have opened up to me about their own concerns and I’ve urged them to see their doctor. Prostate cancer can be so easily treated if you take control and act quickly.
I think a lot of men think it won’t happen to them though, and so they do nothing. And then you throw in embarrassment, fear, not wanting to make a fuss or the feeling that you’ll be less of a man. You might kid yourself that you’re too young, or that it’s just a bit of discomfort. We’re also really proud of our bits and don’t like to think there might be something wrong with them! But all that’s daft when you think about it.
You’ve got to go if you think something might be up. Don’t be stubborn. A few minutes of feeling a bit awkward could save your life.