A Carlisle councillor has urged men over 50 to get tested after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Brian Wernham decided to visit his GP for a blood test after he started experiencing bloating, stomach cramps and the urge to use the toilet multiple times during he night.
While waiting for the results of his blood test, he decided to buy a prostate home test kit on Amazon – which immediately alerted Brian to a prostate issue.
He then tested again with two other home kits and has since been officially diagnosed.
Brian said: “I am so glad I bought a cheap and simple PSA test on Amazon – it immediately alerted me to a prostate problem. I had mild symptoms of stomach cramp and waking to urinate in the night.
“So I bought a home ‘Prima Home Test Prostate Test’ on Amazon for £8.99. It came the next day. It is a simple home lateral flow test using a prick of blood. It tested positive. I then bought a ‘LetsGetChecked for Prostate Specific Antigen test kit’ for £60 from Amazon which came next day.
“It required a bit more blood in a vial, which I sent off to their lab the same day I got it. The next morning a nurse at the lab phoned me to tell me that the PSA ‘total’ and ‘free’ levels were both positive.”
Brian then went to privately have an MRI scan and speak with a consultant via video link, both of which confirmed he had prostate cancer.
He said: “I don’t know yet which type. The cancer may be treatable by tablets, or chemo or radiotherapy or by surgery. Next week I will have a CAT scan and biopsy to determine the seriousness of the cancer and the appropriate treatment.
“The treatment may be mild, or it may be debilitating, so my future is uncertain. I urge all men over 50 to test and use the cheap test every 6 months – you never know, it might just have saved my life.”
The councillor said that while the diagnosis has been a shock, his partner, Anna, had been incredibly supportive. He said: “She is a treasure.”
He said: “Men, if you have symptoms, see your GP. Whether you have symptoms or not, I recommend you home test every 6 months if you are over 50 – it only costs £8.99.
He added that by openly talking about testing and treatment he hopes to help other men who may be in a similar position.
Amy Rylance, Head of Improving Care at Prostate Cancer UK, commented: “Men over 50 have a right to a PSA blood test for free from their GP if they want one. However, the individual benefits of a PSA blood test will be different for each man. This is because some men will have more risk factors than others or will have pre-existing health conditions.
“That’s why it’s really important that before men have a PSA test, they get balanced information or counselling from a health professional, and that they get professional follow up about their result and what to do next. This is not viable with home testing kits.
“Prostate Cancer UK is working hard alongside the NHS to proactively engage those men at high risk of cancer about the PSA blood test and help them make an informed choice about what they want to do. That’s also why we’ve developed our 30 second risk checker, to help give men the information they need.”