A Melton man who has been treated for prostate cancer is supporting a move to establish a new screening technique for the disease which is more accurate and less invasive for patients.
John Swayne (56), who was diagnosed last year, underwent the traditional screening procedure involving a blood test which looks for increases in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and a biopsy where tissue is taken for examination from the prostate gland.
The cancer was not immediately picked up but large trials are currently being carried out to see if MRI scans can be used in future to more effectively flag up the disease, which kills more than 10,000 men in the UK every year.
If the research, which is being conducted by University College London, paves the way for MRIs to be used in scans for prostate cancer it would result in many patients not needing to have invasive biopsies and for the disease to be picked up earlier.
John last week finished a course of chemotherapy but has been told the cancer has spread because it wasn’t diagnosed early enough and that his condition is life-limiting.
He believes the use of MRI scans would revolutionise testing for prostate cancer and has been helping promote the research, including being interviewed on the national BBC TV news.
John told the Melton Times: “I had been talking to the charity, Prostate Cancer UK, and they asked me if I would mind being interviewed by the BBC for a piece about the new MRI trials.
“It was because mine wasn’t picked up in the usual screening they give to patients.
“I had the PSA blood test but it can give out a lot of false negatives and at the moment there is no recognised screening process which flags it up.
“The biopsy is something you currently have to go through although it is not a pleasant thing to have and it would be great if we just had MRI scans for prostate cancer screening in future.”
John’s cancer diagnosis came more than six mnonths after he initially experienced pain and a tingling in his arm after coming home from holiday in September 2018 when it was thought at first to be a trapped nerve in his neck. It was later picked up by an MRI scan.
John, who part-owns the Towers and Keightley joinery business on Snow Hill in Melton, has been given great support by his wife Julie, son Robert and daughter, Catherine, since his diagnosis.
He said: “Obviously it was a massive shock for everyone and very difficult to come to terms with.
“You go through all the horror scenarios but with the amount of money being pushed into research there are new techniques coming along all the time and I’m just hoping there will be something which will help prolong my life.”