Joining Jeff for Day 3 of the Men United March, Hugh Steven hopes to raise further awareness of prostate cancer symptoms he believes too many men are ashamed to talk to their GP about. Here, he shares his own experience of erectile dysfunction and living one day at a time with a non-agressive cancer.
I was diagnosed in February 2013 aged 53. It was a relatively minor symptom which occurred with me, certainly nothing I thought for a minute would be cancer. I suffered from erectile dysfunction for about 30 seconds whilst making love then things would return to normal working order. So I dismissed the first time entirely from my head, thinking I was just getting a bit older. But it happened again three or four weeks later, and then again more regularly.
I had an appointment with my GP one day about some other matter and, as I was about to leave his office, I explained to him about my erectile dysfunction. He examined me and told me my prostate was a little funny shaped so he'd send me to hospital just to be on the safe side. I had ten biopsy samples taken and the results were that nine of them were clear and one contained less than 5% cancer cells. The urologist confirmed I had cancer in its very early stages.
I just take life one day at a time and get my PSA checked every four months
I felt numb, shocked even. I had a couple of weeks to decide what to do, although the urologist advised to “wait and see” rather than risk unnecessarily spoiling my quality of life by attempting to treat the cancer. I've had three MRI scans over the past three years and the results of them show non-aggressive cancer. It’s very little and behaving at the moment as if it's benign, which it of course it is not. I just take life one day at a time and get my PSA checked every four months.
So far, all's been good. In the last three years, my PSA level has never been above one and the minor erectile dysfunction is the only symptom I've had. My family – two sons, mother, sisters and my brother – have been very supportive. And, being divorced, any women I have relationships with have been very supportive, too. The only treatment I receive are pills from the GP which deal with the erectile dysfunction and stop this from ever happening.
Before being diagnosed, I knew nothing about prostate cancer, its symptoms or even what or where my prostate gland was. Prostate Cancer UK has helped me with face-to-face information, and I also know there's a specialist nurse to chat to whenever I need it. It's also where I discovered Men United and signed up for the March.
I think it’s tremendous of Jeff to be raising awareness about prostate cancer. Men are slowly starting to talk about health issues more
I'm a big fan of Jeff Stelling and football, going regularly with my sons and friends to watch Glasgow Rangers and our local junior team Kilbirnie Ladeside. I think it’s tremendous of Jeff to be raising awareness about prostate cancer. Since signing up for Day 3 of the March and asking for donations, there have been a few work colleagues and friends asking me about my symptoms and how often they should get checked out. I've referred them back to the Prostate Cancer UK website and think men are slowly starting to talk about health issues more.
I’d say to any man out there who feels there may be something wrong with their body: swallow your pride and visit your GP. Even the slightest symptom reported could lead to prostate cancer being detected earlier. You have nothing to lose and life to gain.
Donate to Hugh and Jeff at the Men United March JustGiving page and help us smash our £200k target.