CHAPS aims to be an advocate for men’s health in general and for prostate cancer in particular.
For Peter, the support from CHAPS might well have been life-changing.
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Full text version:
CHAPS aims to be an advocate for men’s health in general and for prostate cancer in particular. In late 2020, they made an agreement with the East Suffolk Prostate Cancer Support Group and the Suffolk Provincial Grand Lodge of Freemasons to provide PSA tests at eight venues across the county. One man, Peter, tells his story.
“If a year of Covid has made us appreciate all that we have taken for granted for so long, just think how you would feel if someone sat you down and told you have cancer.
Let me suggest you think a lot more of the people, family, grandchildren and everything else that you may have only a limited amount of time to enjoy in the future. Even worse is in the back of your mind you know this was avoidable.
Aged 68, I had slightly raised blood pressure but otherwise no health issues. I took the flu jab each year and had an annual medical. I’d had an urgency to pee for seven or eight years but had learned not to give in to this feeling. Erections worked but in a rather lazy fashion! None of this caused me any concern as I conveniently put this down to advancing age.
Like the majority of men over 55, I have frequently asked my GP about prostate checks and was usually put off the idea. Luckily, mix with a variety of gents of a similar age. It is almost a ritual for mutual encouragement to get PSA tested. This year I thought, well, maybe I should have another. I had no symptoms and didn’t fear the result – but thought it worth a check. CHAPS regularly organises Saturday tests, sponsored and subsidised by the Suffolk Freemasons. I wasn’t concerned when I received the result in November. The letter did say I should contact my GP and that he should make an urgent referral. But by December I was told I had cancer. I decided to opt for the removal of the prostate gland. My operation was successful and by then everything was just like normal.
If I were allowed a recommendation, it would be for all men of a certain age not to wait for symptoms, and not to be put off by their GP, but to get tested regularly. Mine could have had a very different outcome if the growth had not been detected until next year or later.”
CHAPS tested another 96 men in Felixstowe at the end of April and 10 PSA tests were abnormal! For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or, for upcoming testing events, take a look on their website.
Don’t wait till symptoms arise – that may be too late! If you are over 40, have a PSA test.