A LIFESAVING Winsford-based charity has been leading national calls for a greater amount of testing and treatment on one of the biggest natural killers of men.
Gary Steele, chairman of the Leighton Hospital Prostate Cancer Support and Awareness Campaign, visited London this week as part of a panel of experts seeking to drive a change within the NHS.
Gary, who was awarded the MBE for his pioneering work, has organised for more than 2,000 men across Winsford and Mid Cheshire to be tested for prostate cancer.
His prostate specific antigen (PSA) test takes a small amount of blood via a capillary prick of the finger, with an accurate result provided in ten minutes – letting men know if they have a risk of developing cancer.
But he’s frustrated with UK’s lack of treatment and testing of the disease, falling well behind Europe and America.
“The officials just don’t see what I see. I’ve got two members that visited the group who are in absolute agony,” said Gary.
“The men of this country are the worst dealt with across Europe. If you look at this country only eight per cent of eligible men are tested. We don’t compare to Europe and America.”
Gary pointed to research by New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, where a study found that PSA testing from 44 years upwards produced a 50 per cent mortality drop.
Every year 37,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK. 10,000 men die.
It is the second most common type of cancer in men, but the NHS currently has no screening programme.
In the rest of Europe and throughout many countries elsewhere in the world, all men of 50 are required to undertake a test, and Gary wants to see the UK follow the example, as well as wider use of the life-extending prostate cancer drug, abiraterone.
Gary added: “We just don’t seem to have any treatments. I’ve got members dying and there’s nothing we can give them.”
Breakout Gary tested 56 men at Winsford Concervative Club on May 27, costing £1,260.
15 per cent tested borderline for raised PSA, and 5 per cent required a sample to be sent to Cambridge, which costs the group £200 a time.
The group is totally reliant on donations, and are hoping to attract local sponsorship from businesses to ensure they can continue their lifesaving work.
The next testing session is at Sandiway Golf Club between 9am-1pm on Saturday, June 22.
Over 45s who want to organise a check should get in touch with Gary on 01606 553097.