Ten years after having his cancerous prostate removed in the nick of time, Derek Moss is grateful to be alive and able to join Jeff on his final day of the Men United March. He describes how hard he found it to tell his young children about his diagnosis, and why he's passionate about raising money and awareness of a disease that so nearly killed him.
At 69, I have survived for just over 10 years since my prostate cancer diagnosis and operation. At the time, I was aware of prostate cancer because it had killed my father and a very good friend was fighting what turned out to be a losing battle with it, too. As he told me many times, he had ignored the symptoms like so many men do.
I still find it hard to remember the haze of thoughts which went through my mind when I was diagnosed. I wondered if I might not live long enough to see my five children grow up – what can you say to such young people at such a time? I tried to reassure them and behave as normally as possible, internalising my thoughts about wanting the cancer out of my body and to live my life again.
We still have a long way to go to match the awareness of breast cancer but everything we do to raise money and awareness helps
When the medical staff went through the options it became clear to me that the radical prostatectomy would be my best option. The cancer was growing quite quickly but my chances of an operation before Christmas were not good. However, three men with the same diagnosis decided to postpone their operations. I never met any of them but I hope they all made successful recoveries. My cancer was less than a hair’s breadth away from escaping the prostate into my body, so I thank each of them every day for the life I now have.
I’m a season ticket holder at Chelsea and have supported them since 1954/5, so I really enjoyed our brief visit to Stamford Bridge on Day 10 of the Men United March. I had a fabulous day with Jeff and so many supporters of rival teams united in a common cause. There was none of the usual animosity, just 75 people glad to be making a difference.
We still have a long way to go to match the awareness of breast cancer but everything we do to raise money and awareness helps. I feel blessed for every day I’ve had since my operation. I’m planning to live a very long time and raise money by whatever means I can for this great charity. The greater the awareness of prostate cancer, the sooner we can beat it.