by Harry Walton
DOZENS of men across Weymouth, Portland and west Dorset are needlessly dying because they can’t be bothered to make a simple check for prostate cancer.
One in six of all cancer cases in Dorset is prostate while prostate cancer is responsible for one in 12 of all deaths caused by cancer in the county and nearly one in seven of all male deaths from cancer in the UK. It killed 307,000 men worldwide in 2012.
Nearly a third of Dorset men are unaware of the risks of prostate cancer and experts say they are seriously worried by figures which show more than eight out of ten Dorset men wouldn’t see their doctor even if they knew they were at risk.
Naveed Afzal, lead consultant urologist at Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester, has recently started carrying out state of the art robotic surgery for prostate cancer at Royal Bournemouth Hospital including patients from right across the Weymouth, Portland and west Dorset area.
But he is deeply concerned that many more lives could be saved if only men would take the trouble to get themselves checked.
Early diagnosis through a visit to their doctor for a PSA blood test makes treatment so much more effective. This is important for the over-50s, he says, but doubly important for any man over 40 with a family history of prostate cancer.
He said: “Prostate cancer mortality is strongly related to age. In the UK between 2010-2012, three out of four men who died from prostate cancer were over 75 and more than 99 percent were aged 55 and over.
“I cannot stress too strongly how important it is for men to take the trouble to visit their doctor for a simple check once they reach 50 and certainly at 40 if they have a family history of prostate cancer.”
Mr Afzal said one Dorset man who knows just how important this can be is Terence Wood. His doctor referred him to DCH with a moderate PSA count which led to tests and a diagnosis that he had prostate cancer. Mr Wood’s father had died from prostate cancer in 1999.
A successful robotic surgery operation by Mr Afzal followed and a delighted Mr Wood said it had been “very effective” with only a short hospital stay and a quick recovery period.
Mr Wood said in a letter to DCH: “I cannot praise this procedure enough and for the whole of the “team” involved both at Dorchester and Bournemouth hospitals.”
Mr Afzal said: “The latest procedure using the new robotic Da Vinci equipment enables a man with prostate cancer to be operated on in a way which is less damaging to his body and which reduces the time he must spend in hospital.
“Because it is less damaging the recovery period is also shorter, but such life-saving treatment is no good if the man in question has left it too late before going to their doctor.
“Taking the time to go for a check up and PSA test can be the difference between life and death. It helps us to help the patient get the best treatment as early as possible so it is as effective as possible.”
Weymouth and Portland View From Chief Reporter Harry Walton was also among those diagnosed and treated for early prostate cancer by Mr Afzal and his team at DCH.
He said: “I hope I am now fully cured thanks to DCH offering what I believe is one of the best prostate cancer treatment facilities in the country.”
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