Take test urges Norwich cancer survivor

A prostate cancer survivor has urged men aged 50 or over to get themselves screened against the disease despite experts recommending against a national programme.

Mel Lacey was diagnosed with cancer two years ago being prompted to go for a test by a friend who was suffering from the disease.

Mr Lacey, now 62, had no symptoms but the PSA (prostate specific antigens) blood test pointed to a problem and he was referred to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where the cancer was diagnosed and treated.

But UK experts have now recommended against a screening programme for prostate cancer, saying its potential harms would outweigh any benefits.

The UK National Screening Committee says after weighing all the evidence, screening for this male cancer using the PSA blood test, which has been contentious because of concerns about over-diagnosis is not advisable.

The test will now not be routinely offered, although men over 50 may request one - and Mr Lacey has called on everyone who reaches this age to get themselves checked out with the test.

He said: 'I'm not a medical expert and wouldn't say I'm an expert in prostate cancer but having been through the symptoms I know rather a lot about it.

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'I don't know the reasoning behind why they wont allow a screening programme but all I would say is that I would emphasise from my own personal experience that every man aged 50 and above should go for a PSA test.

'Quite simply two years ago after having a PSA test myself, with no symptoms at all, led to discovering the fact I had cancer and I have to ask myself if I would still be here today if I hadn't had a test.'

Since battling back to fitness from the disease, which kills 10,000 of the 35,000 men diagnosed every ye the father-of-two and grandfather of one from Norwich, has set about launching a charity aimed at raising awareness about and tackling male cancer.

Mr Lacey, a former police officer, hopes to launch a Blue Ribbon Foundation (BRF) for men early next year to emulate the work the Pink Ribbon Foundation has done for women in their battle against cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the second most common cause of cancer deaths in men in the UK.

Dr Anne Mackie, screening committee director, said: 'This advice is based on the latest research evidence, and informed by a range of groups including healthcare professionals and patient representatives.'

Professor Julietta Patnick, director of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, said: 'Men should speak to their GP if they have any concerns. Any man over the age of 50 who, after careful consideration of the implications, requests a PSA test should be given one.'

<t> Anyone interested in supporting the Blue Ribbon Foundation should contact Mr Lacey via mel.lacey@talktalk.net

<t> Are you raising money in memory of a loved one or friend Call Evening News reporterPeter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk