Men: don't die of embarrassment

PUBLISHED: 08:50 02 October 2008 | UPDATED: 22:24 15 June 2010

Few people would be grateful to get blood poisoning, but for one Chideock man it saved his life.

Few people would be grateful to get blood poisoning, but for one Chideock man it saved his life.While climbing a mountain in the Philippines, Gregory Doran, 60, got a thorn caught in his thigh, which then became infected. Over 11 days he lost four stone and was at death's door.Returning home for treatment, Mr Doran took a course of antibiotics and had a full blood screen. It was then that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Left unchecked for any longer, he believes he would be in a much worse condition - and may not have survived.Not showing any of the usual symptoms, the diagnosis was unexpected for doctors and Mr Doran alike.He said: "If it hadn't have been for the septicemia, I wouldn't have known - I had no signs whatsoever."I felt blase initially, because it didn't sink in. You just seem to accept it as the norm, though that sounds strange. You then consider what they can do for you."But he admitted the worry came later: "Fear of leaving my daughter, so young, was quite upsetting. I wanted to see her grow up, go to college and have her dad to protect her."Fortunately, the cancer had not spread outside the prostate. Mr Doran did not need radical surgery and his chances of survival were much improved. Appreciating the need to catch cancer early, he is trying to alert other men to the symptoms. "There are men wandering around everywhere in this country without symptoms, who are actually carrying cancer," he said."They could be saved from radical surgery, and even death. I think people are ignorant about it, and men are literally dying of embarrassment. "Men fear getting it checked out because they think they're going to be probed in embarrassing places. The truth is it's just a blood test - and every man over 40 should have one at least once a year."Prostrate cancer is the most common male cancer in the UK, accounting for almost a quarter. Each year, nearly 32,000 men are diagnosed in the UK, and more than 10,000 die from the disease.Mr Doran points out that even if men survive it, if found too late it can lead to major surgery and this, in turn, can cause problems. Possible side affects include impotence and incontinence.He said: "Prostate cancer can affect married life. Be it getting up all night to go to the toilet, or some end up having to wear a catheter or a colostomy bag."I was lucky because I had brachy therapy - radioactive implants directly into the prostate - which burned the cancer away and it didn't affect my quality of life."But he did not escape unscathed. He had 90 radioactive implants put in and his treatment went on for five months.Given female hormone implants to shrink the prostate, he experienced symptoms of menopause.He said: "It was horrible. Getting hot flushes is awful - it feel as if your head's going to explode. I can relate to what women have to go through and the discomfort they feel. "I'm glad it only lasted 12 months, but that felt like a lifetime."Mr Doran will find out if he has fully recovered in October. But having come through so much already, he feels a huge sense of relief."I feel elated without doubt. I've written a book and it's given me a new lease of life. "It's made me want to help people in the years I've got left," he said.He said men recovering from prostate cancer are asked to pass on the word to other men in a bid to save lives."I'd say 'don't be silly - get your test and live. There's nothing to be afraid of. I hope other people reading this will learn and visit the surgery just for the simple blood test.

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