15 July 2019
Speaker at our meeting of 15th July was Alastair Walker, a volunteer with Prostate Cancer UK. Alastair is himself affected by aggressive prostate cancer and is working to publicise and increase awareness of this cancer, which is the biggest killer of men.
We heard that 1 in 8 men men will develop this cancer - odds that increase to 1 in 2.5 if there is a family history of the disease. Some 47,000 are diagnosed each year, with 300,000 men in the UK currently living with the condition. Statistics show that men over 50 are at greater risk (a risk that continues to increase with age) and that black men have a much greater risk - about 1 in 4.
Alastair described in detail the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, likely outcomes and potential side effects of the disease and of some types of treatments. Treatment may include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiotherapy and surgery. The side effects can be life-changing and Alastair emphasised the importance of identifying prostate cancer at an early stage, when treatment is far less invasive - and far more successful. He explained the typical range of symptoms to be aware of and the value of a ‘PSA’ blood test - which can be carried out by a GP.
In concluding his illustrated talk, Alastair spoke of the work of Prostate Cancer UK and especially of the support and help that he had himself received.
Prostate Cancer UK exists to provide support and help. Free booklets and information can be downloaded from their website at www.prostatecanceruk.org Their Specialist Nurses can be contacted for advice and in confidence at 0800 074 8383.
Following questions a vote of thanks was proposed by George Hunter.