Jan Blofield has more reasons than most for supporting our Beat It! prostate probe appeal.
Not only is Jan a urology nurse practitioner at West Suffolk Hospital, and will therefore be using the new equipment, but her partner, has had prostate cancer.
She stresses the importance of an early diagnosis.
“We’ve got the diagnosis, he’s had his treatment and he’s fine — that’s the positive result of getting a diagnosis,” she said.
Jan’s partner is more aware than most of the risk of the cancer with which 40,975 men are diagnosed every year in the UK and which kills 10,721 a year. He has six family members with it so Jan made sure he had a regular PSA test, which is a blood test for an antigen excreted by the prostate.
Many men do not get diagnosed early enough because they do not recognise the symptoms or ignore them.
Jan said: “Men are, perhaps, a bit shy about discussing things with each other.
“Breast and prostate cancer are about equal in terms of how many are diagnosed and treated, but breast is in the papers so people are aware.
“Yet, unlike women, men have the opportunity to compare. I do a prostate cancer clinic and what they’ve sometimes noticed is they have been at a urinal and realised ‘my flow isn’t like his’, but you don’t talk about it.
“The trouble is, there is no screening for men, so it’s about raising awareness.”
Seeking out a diagnosis is important because an enlarged prostate is a normal part of aging, which may produce symptoms like difficulty urinating and having to go more often. But she says a cancerous prostate feels different to the touch.
The probe is an ultra-sound scanner and Jan says the new machine will have better imaging allowing improved targetting of biopsies, helping in decisions on how to treat the cancer.
Jan, who is a veteran of five London Marathons and two Great North Runs, is one of the hospital’s staff who is in training for next month’s 10km for 10 days challenge, which anyone prepared to run, walk or jog 10km every day for 10 days can do.
To sign up send a £10 cheque payable to West Suffolk Hospital to Fundraising Department, West Suffolk Hospital, Hardwick Lane, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 2QZ, visit http://www.wsh.nhs.uk/Charity or contact Dave Gooderham on 01284 712952. You can donate to Beat It at www.justgiving.com/BFP-Beat-It