How can men get tested?
If you have symptoms of prostate cancer, getting tested is simple. First, arrange an appointment with your GP, who will do something called a PSA blood test which tests for prostate protein in your blood. If you have an abnormally high level of PSA then you will go for further scans and biopsies to determine if you have prostate cancer.
It’s helpful to know that if you are over the age of 50 and see your GP for something completely different that requires a blood test, you have the right for your blood to be PSA screened as well, regardless of whether you are showing any symptoms.
Remember: testing for prostate cancer using PSA screening can detect harmless cancers as well as aggressive cancers – and that’s where our research can make a difference.
Are there any preventative steps that people can take to reduce their risk?
This is a good question and more research is required to answer it. What we do know is that avoiding dairy protein such as milk and consuming more processed tomatoes is good for your prostate. It’s also beneficial to eat a special type of broccoli called ‘beneforte broccoli’ as it has high levels of a chemical called sulforaphane which is believed to protect against prostate cancer. For those already diagnosed, exercise is also good for slowing progression of prostate cancer.
What treatments are available for men diagnosed with prostate cancer?
There have been many advances in treatment over the last decade such as hormone withdrawal therapy, surgery and radiotherapy. Importantly, once our research into aggressive and non-aggressive forms of prostate cancer has concluded and we have a secondary test for newly diagnosed men, doctors will be able to make a much better informed decision as to what treatment the patient needs. Fingers crossed this will be soon!
As well as tackling prostate cancer on a national scale through our medical research grants, we can also support individuals within the masonic community who are affected by the condition.
Les, a Freemason for 16 years, was completely unaware he was living with this life-threatening disease. It was only during a routine doctor’s appointment that he was offered a PSA blood test.
“The blood test came back showing that my PSA levels were too high. My doctor told me that I should have a scan to investigate further but that it would take a couple of weeks to get an appointment on the NHS. I didn’t want to wait, so I decided to pay for an MRI scan and a biopsy privately. This was when my cancer was fully diagnosed – but I was told I would face a year and a half wait for an operation.”
After confiding in his lodge Almoner about his diagnosis, the long NHS wait and the unaffordable cost of private care, Les found out about the MCF and successfully applied for funding to have his treatment privately. Just three months later he had the surgery he needed.
“As soon as the word cancer is mentioned, your whole world turns upside down, so who knows what would have happened if I had been forced to wait. I’m just so lucky I caught it early!”