“My father had died from prostate cancer but I had no idea that I would be at an increased risk of getting the disease”
“My father had died from prostate cancer but I had no idea that I would be at an increased risk of getting the disease,” says Lance Allen, 63, of Findon, Sussex, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer following a PSA test four years ago.
“You don’t think that cancer can be `contagious’ in that way so I didn’t realise that I was high risk. I was quite healthy – I had been a vegetarian for 30 years – did lots of walking, cycling and trail running, and had no symptoms. Well, perhaps a little bit slower passing water but I thought that was just my age.”
Lance, a retired banker, was referred to Worthing Hospital’s urology department following a raised PSA test in September 2016. He had a biopsy and MRI scan which showed there was cancer but it hadn’t spread outside of the prostate gland. He was put on hormone treatment immediately and this was later followed with a course of chemotherapy and then radiotherapy.
Following his diagnosis, Lance was determined to maintain his fitness levels, even hiking up 3,000ft Welsh mountains during his chemotherapy, and has achieved several 10k races.
“Cycling, running and walking have kept me fit and helped me through the treatment,” he explains. “This year I’ve climbed the equivalent of Everest, and I’ve maintained a positive mind set since I was first diagnosed four years ago.”
Lance also adopted a vegan diet, and consuming no alcohol since his diagnosis.
He is now a proactive member of a regional prostate cancer charity called PCaSO, helping to raise awareness of this disease and encouraging Sussex men who are in the higher risk groups – that is those aged over 50, black men and those with a family history of prostate cancer – to get a PSA test.
“Men can relate to my story and I understand that for someone who has been recently diagnosed it can be very stressful. Men don’t talk about prostate cancer but it is so important to get an early diagnosis. It is just a simple blood test but can be life changing.”
“I have never once felt like I am going to drop dead and have always felt I am going to see this thing through and I have been treated really wonderfully by the NHS.”
“Luckily for me, because of the PSA test, the cancer was caught early and I didn’t need any radical surgery. I am still on hormone treatment but the cancer is all suppressed and long may it stay that way.”