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Watch out for prostate cancer! By Graham Sharpe

Blog | By Graham Sharpe | Feb 18, 2022

Picture by Stethoscopes

  • I'VE WRITTEN a book about a potentially fatal condition I acquired a couple of years ago - and the title of the book suggests that I don't even really know precisely what that condition is called.
    However, there is method in my apparent madness as, although I genuinely DO know that I have Prostate Cancer, I realised very early on in the process of being treated for it that many men - and it is my personal experience that it IS men, even those who actually get the disease, rather than women, who don't - who erroneously believe it to be called ProstRate Cancer, which it genuinely is not, although it may well render sufferers prostrate.
    My book is entitled 'PROSTrATE CANCER', mainly because I would frequently hear the superfluous 'r' inserted into the name by so many of those I met while I was being treated. I'd also heard over the years that prostate cancer was something that one was more likely to die WITH, rather than FROM. As, it became obvious, had many others.
    This belief may hold an element of truth, but it can also make men complacent and therefore less likely to get themselves checked out, as they believe it is very unlikely to prove fatal for them even if they are unfortunate enough to be affected by it. This was the case for me.
    I am now 71. I was in my mid sixties when my GP first intimated that he felt he needed to carry out the initial PC checking-out method, which involved plastic gloves - for him - and much clenching of teeth and parking of dignity on my part. At that point he didn't feel he needed to take any further action, but when a subsequent blood test revealed that my PSA level was unusually high, he sent me swiftly off for the necessary checks to confirm his feeling that I could well be showing signs of PC. T
    his potential diagnosis should have been conclusively confirmed by the consultant I was sent to see. However, the two attempts he made to tell me, as I sat mutely opposite him, were delayed as his mobile phone rang on two separate occasions, and each time he made it clear that he would rather listen to whoever was calling than talk to me, his patient.
    Sensing that I was being driven close to violence by his behaviour, the nurse who was also in the room quickly indicated that I should go with her and she would explain what the consultant - who I was never to see again, fortunately for his ongoing well-being - should have been telling me. I remain grateful to that quick-thinking lady.
    As someone who spent most of his working life in the publicity department at bookies William Hill, I now like to ask men who enjoy the odd flutter whether they have ever backed a 7/1 winner. Most have, so they know it is not that unusual an occurrence. Well, I tell them, 7/1 also represents the average odds about someone being diagnosed with PC - the odds are, however, shorter for black males.
    Once diagnosed, I now wondered just what would now be in store for me in terms of the treatment path I would be sent down. I had no idea, so looked around for some reading matter to explain things to me. I couldn't find anything with much more detail than just listing the various potential treatment stages - and even less about the actual nature of the tests I'd be undergoing to establish precisely what my situation might be.
    So, being by profession a journalist, I decided while sitting waiting for one of my early, exploratory medical investigations, to keep notes about what was happening to me, if only to pass the time whilst waiting to be probed, prodded and poked. These notes would later be invaluable when I decided to write perhaps the first 'tell-all' PC book. I knew that PC did not differentiate about the type of people it affected - Rod Stewart had it, Elton John did, Stephen Fry did, Elvis Costello did, Michael Parkinson did.
    But none of them, it seemed, spoke or wrote about it until they had 'beaten' it - not that I believe it is possible ever to do that conclusively - and even then they seemed reluctant to go into more than the most basic detail about the actual mechanics of what they'd been through.
    Many, like rock stars Frank Zappa and Alvin Stardust, England footballer Nobby Stiles, and England cricketer Bob Willis, don't get the opportunity to do so, because they die from it. I decided that shock treatment might be necessary to alert men to the risks, so have explained, sometimes in gory detail, what lies in wait for those diagnosed with PC, whilst emphasising that you will be treated with dignity and respect by those carrying out the procedures, all of which are designed for your ultimate benefit and well-being.
    As an Oldie reader you are very likely to be of an age at which unwelcome signs of PC may reveal themselves. So I'd like to suggest that whether or not you have any obvious symptoms, such as blood in your urine, there is definitely no down-side to asking your GP how to go about having yourself examined for signs of PC.
    Yes, the early stages of checking out may well involve your medic donning plastic gloves,and showing an interest in your nether regions, but I'm sure if I could cope with it, so can you.......

    GRAHAM SHARPE.....'PROSTrATE CANCER'.....OLDCASTLE BOOKS. (Also available as a talking book) https://www.amazon.co.uk/PROSTrATE-CANCER-Misunderstood-Male-Killer/dp/0857304623/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1645195759&sr=1-1