Norfolk man calls on NHS chiefs to introduce prostate cancer screening test

Tim Farnham in Scarning.

Tim Farnham in Scarning. - Credit: Angela Sharpe Photography

A retired farmer has urged NHS chiefs to consider introducing routine screening tests for older men to identify their risk of getting prostate cancer.

Tim Farnham, of Scarning, near Dereham, raised his concerns with a locum GP four years ago, which were dismissed by the doctor. However, he attended a free prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening test in Fakenham, run by Norfolk and Waveney Prostate Cancer Support Group, which revealed a potential problem.

The 61-year-old had further tests at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, which revealed he had the early stages of prostate cancer.

Mr Farnham received radiotherapy last year and underwent keyhole surgery at the N&N to remove his prostate gland.

He added that he would have been 'blissfully ignorant' of his condition if he had not had the PSA test because he had no symptoms of prostate cancer.

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Mr Farnham, who raised around £10,000 for Big C and the Norfolk and Waveney Prostate Cancer Support Group, after completing a 240-mile trek across Norfolk two years ago, said regular PSA tests for men over 60 could help a lot of men.

'There was a feeling that they [the NHS] were anti PSA tests and we would end up with a lot of worried men, but attitudes are changing. I think there is not much likelihood that the NHS is prepared to roll out routine screening, but that may happen when we get a more reliable test,' he said.

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Six years ago Mr Farnham was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, which may require chemotherapy in the future.

He added that people could do more to reduce their risk of cancer.

'There is so much individuals can do for themselves that does not cost the NHS a penny like lifestyle stuff like exercise, stress control, and cutting out smoking and drinking to improve our quality of life,' he said.

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