Grateful Clarets fan urges other men to join the prostate testing club
A grateful Clarets supporter has sung the praises of the Barry Kilby Prostate Cancer Appeal after a PSA test at the Turf Moor gave the football fan extra time in a fight against cancer.
Keith Ashton was shocked to discover he had been given a 'red letter' following a routine test at Turf Moor, organised by the former Burnley chairman's appeal.
Now the Burnley-born lifelong Claret is urging other men to join the testing club.
Keith (65) said: "I had been concerned to hear that Barry had been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2011, which required urgent medical treatment. Later, I was very pleased to learn that he had recovered. Then Barry Kilby launched his appeal in 2014.
"Living in Chorley, and a little out of the loop during the off-season, I was aware that 'PSA testing days' had been arranged at the club but we had always had other commitments - and anyway I didn't feel that I was really involved, being 'too young' and with no symptoms. I wasn't even aware that all men had PSA levels.
"A close friend had gone to be tested and I thought it would be good to go along and get tested myself, the next time one of these days was held. So it was that I turned up at the Turf in early June 2019, along with hundreds of others.
"The test itself was very straightforward and I fully expected to get an all-clear. Instead, a few days later I received a 'Red Letter’! Following the instructions, I got a back-up test through my doctor, which led to an urgent appointment with the urologist. Then I had an MRI scan and a template biopsy which confirmed prostate cancer.
"At this point I had a decision to make – whether to have radiotherapy or a prostatectomy. This was where Burnley fans became very helpful. I went onto the Burnley forum and asked for help and information from anyone who had had a similar diagnosis.
"I received many posts to my request for knowledge. Posters helpfully offered to chat by email and over the phone. This gave me confidence and many wished me success in whatever decision I made.
"My robotically assisted Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy took place in October 2019 and following further PSA tests, I received the all-clear on December 17th 2019 – the best early Christmas present ever.
"My surgeon at Preston informed me, that, had I not gone for the test when I did and had waited another year, the cancer had been aggressive and may well have spread into my lymph system and other organs with a much worse prognosis. So now I go about telling other men, 'go and get tested!' Even if you have no symptoms, it's best to be on the safe side.”
"I am thrilled that the Barry Kilby charity is hoping to run more PSA Testing Events at football and other sports grounds to help men just like me and you survive longer.
"As there are currently no national screening events for prostate cancer, there is a real need to raise awareness and funds and that is why I welcomed the chance to give my story and hopefully persuade more men to come forward for testing and to discuss the issues of prostate cancer."