Prostate cancer: Dr Hilary outlines signs and symptoms
Samuel Nelson, 63, from Essex, has sadly become too familiar with prostate cancer after his dad, stepdad and two uncles “succumbed” to the deadly condition.
In 2017, the cancer also caught up with him, leaving Samuel keen to raise awareness of the condition, especially amongst Black men.
Samuel, who now volunteers for Prostate Cancer UK, said: “After my dad sadly passed away, I was advised by my GP that Black men [who are] 45 and over are more prone to develop and be diagnosed with the cancer.
“[The GP also said that] because my dad succumbed to the cancer, it is likely that I may also have the cancer and I should have regular check-ups every six months.
“If I wasn’t checking, I probably would have been dead myself.
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“There was no pain or symptoms.”
In summer 2017, Samuel was living in the Middle East, where he went for his “routine” six-monthly check.
Although he wasn’t experiencing any warning signs of the disease, his PSA levels were increased.
The PSA level isn’t always a reliable sign of whether someone has prostate cancer but his doctor told him to come back at the end of the summer to get checked again.
Worryingly, further tests showed that his PSA increased even further, leaving his doctor concerned.
After re-testing again in two weeks, the levels were so high that Samuel got referred to the cancer department.
A biopsy revealed that he was suffering from prostate cancer, with 10 percent of his prostate being targeted.
He said: “The most important thing with prostate cancer is to catch it early. Once it escapes the prostate, then you can’t control it.”
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The first port of call was chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but Samuel didn’t want to be exposed to radiation after he watched his sister die after a series of treatments of this type.
Instead, he wanted to have his prostate removed.
“Another issue was also that the surgeon told me that there was a possibility that the cancer was spreading to other areas of my body,” he said.
While doctors thought this approach was “radical” given his case, they eventually let him follow this path.
Despite suffering from severe complications after the procedure, he is now in “very good health”.
Samuel, who is now enjoying spending time with his six children, added: “I’m just keen to share the facts about prostate cancer.
“Men aged 50 or over, men with a family history of prostate cancer, and black men are more at risk of getting prostate cancer. Early prostate cancer doesn’t normally have any signs.
“So don’t wait for symptoms if you want to talk to your GP about your risk of prostate cancer.”
You can find out if you have a higher risk of prostate cancer – and what you can do about it – by using Prostate Cancer UK’s 30-second online risk checker at prostatecanceruk.org/riskcheck.
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