When Raymond Starr was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year, he was refused an mpMRI on the NHS because there are no scanners available in North Wales. He's now working with us to make sure the revolutionary diagnostic technique is available to all men in the UK.
After Raymond Starr went for a routine medical at his GP in 2014, his PSA level was found to be slightly elevated. So over the next year, he was monitored closely with regular tests.
Raymond’s levels continued to rise and eventually he was referred to have a TRUS biopsy, which took 12 random samples from his prostate. The results came back as negative, which at the time came as a huge relief.
But Raymond’s doctor continued to monitor his PSA levels and over the months that followed, his levels continued to rise. So he was referred back to the urology department once again.
This time, it was recommended that he should have an mpMRI scan, which provides a much more detailed picture of the prostate gland. But Raymond was told that he would have to pay for the scan because it is not available on the NHS in North Wales.
If it wasn’t for the mpMRI, I could have been walking around totally blind to the danger that I was in
"I didn’t feel as though I had much option," he says. "My life was in the balance and so obviously I decided to pay."
Raymond paid £890 for the scan at Spire Hospital in Wrexham, which confirmed that he did have prostate cancer. The tumour had been missed by the previous TRUS biopsy.
"Thankfully, my cancer was caught before it had a chance to spread to other parts of my body," he says. "But if it wasn’t for the mpMRI, I could have been walking around totally blind to the danger that I was in because my previous biopsy had indicated that there wasn’t a problem.
"I’m lucky that I have a good doctor and I was able to pay for an mpMRI – thousands more in North Wales aren’t so fortunate. This has to change."
Following his diagnosis, Raymond opted to have a radical prostatectomy, which took place in March. Apart from some incontinence problems, he is doing well and is working alongside Prostate Cancer UK to make sure mpMRI is available to all men in North Wales who need it.
Only three out of seven Welsh Health Boards are providing mpMRI before biopsy. Please sign our online petition to make it available to all men in Wales.