Free prostate cancer tests in Thetford

A prostate cancer support group is offering men in Thetford a free simple blood test which can help to save lives.

The Norfolk and Waveney Prostate Cancer Support Group is offering up to 250 men, over the age of 45, a free test, which will give some indication whether they should talk to their GP about having further tests, in case they might have prostate cancer.

Known as the PSA test – it is a simple blood test. It does not show whether a man has prostate cancer, but it does give an indication as to whether further tests might be advisable.

The support group organised three previous PSA testing sessions in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Fakenham, and at least 20 of the just under 650 men tested are known to be undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, although this figure could be higher because the charity only finds out if the men involved choose to let it know.

All men over the age of 50 should be able to request a test which can indicate whether they may have prostate cancer.

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But in one case in Norfolk a man who lost his father and grandfather to the disease, and whose elder brother also had it, was refused a test by his GP because he had no symptoms.

The man was able to have a test, thanks to the support group and was found to have the highest level of prostate specific antigens (PSA) in his blood sample out of the total 642 men tested.

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As the PSA test is merely an indicator, rather than a diagnostic tool, further tests were carried out and the man is now currently being treated for advanced prostate cancer.

Noel Warner, chairman of the Norfolk and Waveney Prostate Cancer Support Group, said: 'We are giving south-Norfolk men an opportunity to learn about prostate cancer, have a free PSA test and at the same time contribute data to an important national trial.

'The Thetford testing session is aimed at men who have never had a PSA test, or have been declined one by their GP. We are particularly interested to test men with a direct blood-line, family history of prostate cancer. The hereditary factor is significant with this type of cancer.'

The free testing event will take place at Carnegie Room in Cage Lane, on Thursday, May 24, and has been organised as part of a nationwide screening programme, aimed at obtaining data from over 15,000 men who have not previously had a PSA test.

Men who book for a PSA test at this event will be advised on the pros and cons of having such a test - following NHS guidance - before deciding whether, or not, to give a blood sample for testing.

After the samples have been tested consultant urologist David Baxter-Smith will write to each man, individually, telling him the result and advising on any further action, if appropriate.

Men over the age of 45 who are interested in having a test should send an A5 minimum-size, self-addressed and stamped envelope to N&WPCSG, 3 Skedge Way, Blofield Corner, Norwich NR13 4RY, or email with 'PSA test application' in the subject line. All those applying will be sent an application form.

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