A NORTH East man has talked of having his “world turned upside down” after a prostate cancer diagnosis as he pleads with others to not be afraid to get checked.

Today Prostate Cancer UK and NHS England have joined forces to launch a campaign to find 14,000 men in the UK who need treatment for prostate cancer but have not yet come forward due to the pandemic.

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Ken Bashford, from Middlesbrough, spoke of how he had his “world turned upside down” after his diagnosis.

The Northern Echo: Ken Bashford with Jeff StellingKen Bashford with Jeff Stelling

He can’t remember the drive home after the diagnosis, or the Middlesbrough game he attended with his sons later that day.

He said: “My bottom lip went when he told me, and my wife was there, and I held it until I went outside and I just cried my eyes out.

“Because you hear that word cancer and you just think that’s it, but you need good family and friends and support.”

“Anyone concerned, I can’t push it enough, just contact your GP, more so if a family member has had it, more so if there is black ethnicity in your family, go and get checked out please.

“Go to your GP and push for a PSA test, and if they refuse then stand your ground and say look I need a test.”

Nick Lambert, from Jesmond in Newcastle, spoke of how his diagnosis came as a “big shock” after getting checked.

The Northern Echo: Nick Lambert from NewcastleNick Lambert from Newcastle

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He is a member of the same Ramblers walking group as his friend Mark Nugent, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 and has been committed in raising awareness of the disease and encouraging friends and family to use Prostate Cancer UK's risk checker.

Mr Lambert decided to take the risk checker after seeing it regularly in the footer of Mark’s emails. After completing it, he was put in the at risk category and soon took a PSA test after pressuring his GP to go ahead with it.

He said: “I then had a scan and was told I had prostate cancer, so it did come as a big shock to me, and also the fact that it had spread beyond my prostate, but fortunately it hadn’t got to any of my other organs or bones.

“This meant it was incurable, which took a bit of getting my head around, but it is treatable and it is manageable.”

Luckily, Mr Lambert says he continues to be active and going on 10 to 12 mile walks every week with his wife.

“It’s getting to grips with the fact that this is something I’m not going to get better from, if you’re ill you either get better or you don’t and that’s something I’m going to have to live with.

“I would just urge people to push to get tested, because to do the self checker and if it flags up that you’re in a higher risk sort of group, to then push to get tested."

Sir John Burn, a Professor of Clinical Genetics at Newcastle University, made his journey with prostate cancer public when his daughter, son-in-law and grandkids produced a version of swing classic Mack the Knife with adapted lyrics outlining facts about prostate cancer.

The Northern Echo: John Burn and his wife Linda BurnJohn Burn and his wife Linda Burn

The group, known as The Marsh Family, earned national fame since the first lockdown with a series of entertaining and quirky cover versions of famous songs performed in their front room.

John has been free from cancer for around three years, but spoke of the difficulty for men in getting checked up.

“We really haven’t got a hold of Prostate Cancer like that, partly because it’s hard to screen for, partly because it happens later in life, but it’s also a lot to do with the fact that men don’t like to talk  about it.

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“So I thought, as the chairman of the hospital and as a public figure it would be a good idea if I went public and say there is life after having the operation and especially if you catch it early.

“The figures in the North East are A. because people were worried about coming to the hospital and B. because it doesn’t take much to dissuade men from going to the doctor.

“The other thing to say is that prostate cancer, people don’t quite know what it is and they feel like it’s affecting their manhood, and they don’t quit understand what’s involved.”


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