A father-of-three from Clitheroe and one of the UK's top senior age-group duathletes is partnering with Rosemere Cancer Foundation to raise awareness of prostate cancer having himself competed throughout his own treatment for the condition.
Encouraging others diagnosed with prostate cancer to stay active (with the blessing of their doctors) and positive throughout treatment, Nick Dinsdale (65) was originally diagnosed with cancer in March last year, continuing to race through chemotherapy and even qualifying for both the iconic Alpe D’huez Duathlon in France and the 2019 Târgu Mures ETU European Championships in Romania.
“Aged 64-years-old, fit, supposedly healthy and competing in both cycle and duathlons across the UK and Europe, [the diagnosis] turned my life completely upside down,” said Nick, a graduate sports therapist and proprietor of NJD Sports Injury Centre on Lincoln Way. “I had insisted on annual prostate check-up blood tests as I had had symptoms that suggested prostate cancer for some years but these symptoms are very similar to benign prostate enlargement or BPE.
“BPE is a medical term to describe an enlarged prostate, which approximately 50% of all men aged 50 plus years will suffer from, rising to 90% by the age of 70," Nick added. "My blood tests came back as normal. They did not reflect my cancerous condition as happens in approximately seven per cent of all cases and it was only after an MRI scan, which I instigated, that I was diagnosed.”
Following his diagnosis, Nick endured four months of chemotherapy and after a three-month recovery period, 37 consecutive days of radiotherapy. He was also prescribed quarterly injections of hormone therapy, which are still on-going, and despite this, still managed to finish fifth in his age group in Târgu Mures, putting his athletic exploits down to a combination of physical and mental fitness.
“I believe cancer is fought in the mind as well as clinically within the body, Nick said. "You have to believe that after being diagnosed with cancer, quality of life doesn’t have to end.”
During chemotherapy, Nick learnt to swim so he could compete in his very first triathlon alongside his three daughters Helen, Michelle, and Nicola before going on to compete in his second triathlon with wife Carol, who was herself starting treatment following a diagnosis of breast cancer just as Nick was finishing his own chemotherapy.
“Without my family, especially Carol, coping with my cancer would have proved immensely difficult," Nick said. "One in every eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, which claims approximately 130 lives a day in this country. I want to promote awareness of the disease, the importance having checks and also, of setting goals, which can help get you through treatment.”
Rosemere Cancer Foundation brings world-class cancer treatment to patients at Rosemere Cancer Centre at the Royal Preston Hospital and at another eight local hospital cancer units across Lancashire and Cumbria, including Burnley Teaching Hospital. The charity funds cutting-edge services which the NHS is unable to afford. For more info, visit www.rosemere.org.uk.