Men’s Health: Prostate Cancer
It’s a common problem among men: the reluctance to talk about health and more specifically, the prostate. It’s understandable really. After all, issues ‘down there’ don’t exactly do much to make us feel our most masculine and admitting we have any type of health problem is never easy. But we need to, because failure to do so or to see a professional could be contributing to the 10,000 or so deaths each year that are caused by prostate cancer.
As consultant urologist Simon Woodhams points out, it might not be the easiest thing to talk to your doctor about but, like most cancers, early detection is important. “I can understand why men shy away from these issues… it can be something they find uncomfortable or embarrassing. But there are blood tests we can carry out that will determine whether a man has a low or high risk of something like prostate cancer. It’s called the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), and it’s a very helpful test. With any disease, early detection has to be the biggest advantage”,
If you are diagnosed who do you turn to? Feeling like no one understands what you are going through and coping with the everyday effects of prostate cancer can be isolating. It can be difficult to come to terms with a diagnosis or to make a treatment choice. Sometimes you simply need space to talk freely about how you are feeling. If you are supporting someone with a diagnosis, then you may also feel like you need support. This is where PCaSO (Prostate Cancer Support Organisation) comes in.
Its aims are to offer information and support through its free and confidential help line, newsletters, publications, library, and regular meetings throughout the South coast region. Their meetings are open to all, and anyone can attend any meeting or event.
On the 11th March David Hurst, leader of the Pulborough PCaSO Group, joined forces with Simon Woodhams, who operated on Mr Hurst, to present his experience of prostate cancer to members of PCaSO. From his diagnosis in 2008 at the age of 61, through his journey of investigations and finally his operation, to coping with side effects after the procedure, Mr Hurst offered a frank, honest and, dare it be said, at some points quite humorous presentation, supported by Simon Woodhams, who explained advances in investigations, offered a clinical response to questions and explained the varying options available for those diagnosed with prostate cancer.
PCaSO started in 1999, and is now one of the largest support groups for this disease in the UK, with over 1,000 members, mainly in Hampshire, Dorset, West and East Sussex. The charity is run by patients for patients and their families with no paid executives or offices. For more information visit: PCaSO visit www.pcaso.org or call 0845 650 2555.
Mr Simon Woodhams, Consultant Urologist, is based at Worthing Hospital and operates privately from Goring Hall Hospital. For more information visit www.westsussexurology.co.uk or email email@example.com