Prostate cancer campaigner Graham Fulford believes the UK’s record on detection of the potential deadly disease is little short of criminal.
Ten years ago the retired Warwick accountant was so upset about losing not only his brother-in-law but also a close friend to the disease, he set up a trust to raise money for more routuine PSA blood tests.
Since then Mr Fulford has been the driving force behind 32,000 tests being carried out on men all over the country.
As a result some 600 cancers were detected, many still in the crucial early stages which respond better to treatment.
Most of the men involved were completely unaware of the disease because it often has no clear symptoms.
Mr Fulford knows that some doctors in the UK are still reluctant to carry out the tests on request.
That’s why he’s funding mobile units to tour social clubs and sports venues all over the country offering free PSA checks.
Last week members of Warwick Rotary Club invited Graham along to the Hilton Hotel where they awarded him a Meritorious Service Award for his efforts in raising awareness.
They also gave him a cheque for £200 towards continuing the tests.
Rotary president Michael Swaby expressed his admiration for Mr Fulford’s work and told him: “Several Rotarians here today already had reason to be grateful for it.”
Later, Mr Fulford, who went along to the meeting with the Olympic torch he was invited to carry ahead of last year’s Olympics, told the Courier: “I believe it’s criminal that in the UK we have the highest incidence of untreatable prostate cancer because it is diagnosed too late.
“In Europe 60 to 70 per cent of the adult male population are tested and that rises to 70 per cent in North America and Canada.
“But in the UK only eight per cent of men are tested.
“This means by the time they do realise they have a problem and go to their doctors they are often diagnosed with more advanced cancers.
“The more advanced all cancers are, the harder they are to treat.
“In my view early diagnosis and treatment would dramatically reduce the figure of 10,000 men a year who die from the condition.”
Awareness evenings organised by the trust go some way to offering more information.
Symptoms such as needing to visit the toilet with increased frequency and a poor flow of urine may offer some indications of a problem.
In recent years the trust has also spent £350,000 on three bladder scanners plus 50 Mediwatch bio-scanners.
Mr Fulford says the mobile units are also testing out a new American machine that can deliver indications of risk in ten minutes.
He said: “There are lots of different tests now - it isn’t necessary to go straight for a biopsy.”
The next local screenings will be held at the Nelson Club in Charles Street, Warwick, on January 16. To make an appointment ring 01926 882876.