IT is 15 years since I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999 and informed that my life expectancy was two to five years, despite three recurrences, I am still here.
Unfortunately, it has blighted my life once, this time it is in the base of my spine and I now have to rely on the ‘drug-fund’ and provide an application for the necessary drug to help me continue to live.
There is a flaw to overcome in that I am restricted to just one drug and if that doesn’t work, the wonderful body NICE have decreed it’s ‘hard-luck’.
I have spent the past 14 years of my life educating men on testing for the early detection of prostate cancer, fighting with Governments, medical professionals and anyone who would listen, providing the argument to screen for this awful disease but there are still no takers in helping to reduce mortality from any of those departments.
I have provided proof during the past five years that men will come for testing if facilities are available and have been party in testing more than 47,000 men identifying more than 700 cancers.
In the conurbation of Leighton Hospital alone, I have been instrumental in the testing of more than 4,000 men, identifying 164 cancers and providing the chance for them to be successfully treated.
I am disappointed that we are still treated as second class citizens when it comes to having a cancer that doesn’t have parity with the other major cancers.
Every year more than 12,000 men die in the UK from prostate cancer.
Only eight per cent of eligible men are tested compared with 70 per cent across Europe so no wonder our mortality is so much higher.
Even worse is that 28 per cent of those seen by an oncologist for the first time cannot be treated as the cancer is too far advanced.
I wonder if I have failed those with a late diagnosis and nowhere to go as there is no treatment for advanced cancer except those drugs that we can’t have.
I’m not bitter, I’m just mad that all my efforts and proof can’t make them listen or understand that we deserve better.
We deserve to live with some dignity.
Gary Steele MBE Winsford