I was lucky. The tumour they removed from my bladder had not embedded itself in the muscle and was just on the surface. It was discovered after a simple blood test suggested by a friend who, despite not having any symptoms, found he had advanced prostate cancer after he took the same test. Thankfully, he’s well on the road to recovery now.
Had my tumour (I like to think of it as mine even though I don’t actually have possession of it anymore) not been discovered and allowed to grow undetected, in just two years it would have become inoperable and could likely have spread to the rest of my body. So today I could be suffering with advanced cancer or, indeed, be already dead.
It’s a sobering thought and one which encourages me not to waste my days, sometimes difficult with the drudgery of the past year or so. There are days I feel fed up but find I need to remind myself how lucky I am.
The test I took was a PSA test. An indicator to prostate problems. Some GPs are reluctant to give you the relevant form because it sometimes shows false positives (heaven forbid we waste someone’s time to discover we’re healthy). Although, like my friend, I had no symptoms the test showed something was amiss. My prostate was found to be okay, but after a couple of scans they found the culprit for my raised PSA levels.
It was due to the insistence of my wife and my friend’s encouragement that I took the test and the work put in on the ground by consultants, doctors and NHS staff that I am alive today.
I can’t imagine why this test isn’t available and insisted upon by GPs for men over 50. Surely false positives are not a genuine reason for this not to be part of the Wellman tests.
And if you’ve managed to reach your late 60s and think you’re okay and have nothing wrong with you, I was 65 when the tumour was detected. There’s no good reason not to have a test, so insist on it. Your life could depend on it.