Tackling cancer

01 July 2017

Jim Peters, of the Retired Members' Section, addressed delegates at AAD this year. to speak about his battle with prostate cancer and to raise awareness of the work carried out by two charities that he now works closely with.  His presentation ended with delegates rising to applaud his courage in talking about such a sensitive issue.

 (As featured in the July issue of the ASLEF Journal, page 12)

 

Jim Peters‘I spent 13 years at King’s Cross and, before that, I was at Eurostar for seven. I’m here to tell you my prostate cancer story. I’m going to try my best not to make it too heavy. I hope that, by telling you what’s happened to me, not only will you be better informed about prostate cancer, you will talk about it to others and, most importantly, you will think about getting tested.

‘One in eight men get prostate cancer – that’s 10 of you here at conference today – but not every man who gets it will die from it because, providing it’s found and treated early, it can be cured. Too many men don’t get checked and that’s why one man every hour dies needlessly from a cancer that could have been cured.

 

‘What is a prostate? Well, it sits just under your bladder. It’s about the size of a walnut. It’s integral to your sex life. And it’s one of the things that helps you not to pee yourself.

‘My first noticeable symptom was, as the doctors put it, impaired sexual function or, as I said to my GP, I can’t get it up, doc. I didn’t so much say it, though, as whimper. I was 53 and went from having trouble keeping the bloody thing down to the opposite in a few weeks! I found it embarrassing admitting to that sort of thing but figured I was far too young to give up sex. My doctor put me at ease did a prostate specific antigen test. He prescribed me some pills, something I’d never heard of called Cialis, they’re like Viagra and were a bloody miracle. It was like being 16 again!

‘But, in early 2012, I had to go to the doctor’s because I was too ill to work. I lost two stone in 10 weeks. I was referred to hospital where it took 19 months of tests, scans and biopsies –19 months of waiting, worrying and getting more ill – before it was found.

‘Being told you have cancer, even when you expect it, is a shock. Everything went quiet, and into slow motion, but eventually my brain kicked back in and my first thought was now they know what’s wrong I can get something done.

‘I had surgery. But the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes and I was told there was no cure. I reckon if I’d had regular PSA tests the cancer would have been found early and one treatment would have cured me. Instead, for the last 3½ years, since I had the surgery, I’ve had continuous treatment to try to slow the cancer down radiotherapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy and I’m still on treatment now to keep me alive.

‘The way things went for me isn’t the way things have to be for you. You can get a simple PSA blood test done. It only takes a few minutes.’

At AAD 56 delegates went for a PSA test offered by the Graham Fulford charitable trust.

 

 

 

 

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