A PROSTATE cancer survivor is highlighting the importance of early detection and being aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer.
John Palfrey, 55, of Bridge Road, Worthing, was diagnosed with the disease seven years ago after a private health check.
He said: “My dad actually died of prostate cancer but he was in his 70s so I did not give it much thought.
“Then my friend died of cancer and I thought that because we had both lived similar lifestyles of overindulgence, what with eating and drinking and little exercise, I should have a check-up.
“I was focussing on my heart, liver and kidneys but the tests showed that my prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level was running high which flagged up danger signals for prostate cancer.
“Eventually, they took a sample of my prostate under general anaesthetic and they found it was cancer.
“I felt gutted, the whole thing was pretty daunting.”
John carried out a lot of research after his diagnosis.
“You have an oncologist, a doctor and a surgeon and it feels like they are all telling you different things,” he said.
“I was lucky because it was picked up fairly early but my research threw up some alternative treatments which I thought would suit me.
“I had a quite radical form of radiotherapy which was less invasive than surgery but at the time was only offered in America.
“While I was finding out if it was financially viable I found out that a trial was being offered in Brighton which was perfect.”
John, a travel agent, had 37 radiotherapy sessions.
“Nothing bothered me except the tiredness which I still suffer from now,” he said. “I think having cancer has changed my perspective on life, it has certainly made me a little more considerate of others.
“I do not sit there eating muesli and apples but I do go to the gym so I can still enjoy beer and curry at the weekend.
“Cancer is a big, frightening thing but it is not the death sentence now that it once was.”
John volunteers for the Albion in the Community’s cancer awareness project.
He said: “Many people think that prostate cancer affects older people but I would urge men from 40 onwards to be aware and know the symptoms