Knowle man sounds health alert
A KNOWLE man is urging others of a certain age to make themselves aware of the risks of prostate cancer – and to get advice if they’re in doubt. Retired managing director Colin Trowbridge, 77, has made it his mission to educate men of 50 and over on what they should know about prostate cancer.
As part of city-wide prostate charity, Prospect, he’s often to be found pinning up posters in local pubs, and takes part in talks and events all over the West.
Like a lot of Prospect members, he got involved after a brush with the disease.
Back in 1999, Colin was delivering leaflets for another charity in St John’s Lane. He had just knocked on a door when he felt a strong need to go to the toilet – so strongly that he didn’t wait for the householder but marched straight back to this home in Sylvia Avenue.
But he got no relief: “It was very painful but I found I couldn’t go,” he said. That sent him to his doctor, who ordered a PSA test – the standard blood test that shows the likelihood of prostate cancer.
Feeling the need to urinate but being unable to go, or starting and not being able to stop, is one of the most common signs of the disease.
Colin turned out to have a malignant tumour – meaning it was growing. But rapid surgery cured the condition and 16 years on he is still well and his PSA count is normal.
Prostate cancer kills around 10,000 men a year in the UK but until the 1990s it was greatly overshadowed by campaigning over breast cancer, which kills roughly the same number of women.
Now the disease is much better publicised, treatment is better, and 84 per cent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer live for 10 years or more.
Colin believes men should take action if any relative ever had prostate cancer, or if they have symptoms such as pain around the pelvis.
“I know people who went for a blood test for another reason, and it can turn out they have prostate cancer that is quite advanced,” he said.
“Men need to go to the doctor, particularly if they have a relative who has had the disease.”
Men over 50 can insist on a PSA test if they are worried – even if their GP doesn’t think it necessary, said Colin.
And if there is a diagnosis, “we are here in Prospect to offer support,” he said.
“The group has found that knowledge is of great benefit to the patient. It enables him to play an active part in the decision-making process, for example in selecting the best treatment,” added fellow Prospect member Bernard Smyth.
If you have been diagnosed or suspect you may have prostate cancer, call the Prospect helpline, 07585 963535, or email firstname.lastname@example.org