Over one hundred and twenty Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons have recently benefited from the Inspire Health – Fighting Prostate Cancer screening sessions voluntarily delivered by Burton Hospitals NHS Trust Consultant Macmillan Urologist, Miss Jyoti Shah, and Macmillan Urology Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Sister Sarah Minns.
Miss Shah, supported by Sarah established the Fighting Prostate Cancer campaign in March 2016, when they started voluntarily screening men at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium. This has been followed by visiting a diverse range of venues within local communities in which men feel comfortable and can easily access. All the screening sessions are funded by charitable donations, and the team has seen almost 2,700 men to date with over 80 men diagnosed with prostate cancer; some with the spread at the time of being picked up. These screening sessions are further assisted by the volunteer motorcyclists of the Derbyshire Blood Bikes who take the blood samples back to Burton Hospital for analysis.
Miss Shah said, “We are working with our supporters and partners nationally to increase awareness and understanding of prostate cancer, empowering men and their families to make informed decisions about effective testing and treatment”
When discussing the session held in Ashby, Miss Shah said that she was keen to offer a screening session in her home town, and so the Masonic Hall in Ashby was used as the venue for the screening of over sixty men, a number of whom are now undergoing further investigation as a result of the physical examinations and blood tests carried out at the sessions.
The sessions also benefited from information provided by Prostate UK and the presence of representatives of local prostate cancer support charity ProstAid, who provided reassuring words of explanation about cancer and support available through them if diagnosed with it. The Ashby sessions were also made more enjoyable for those attending by the refreshments provided by Ashby Freemason Stuart Cooper and his wife Rachael.
Local Freemason David Wykes, who underwent the examination said, “I want to express my appreciation for this initiative by the Freemasons. As my father died of prostate cancer my risk is increased threefold and doubled again as my mother died of bowel cancer”.
The number of UK men diagnosed with prostate cancer has reached over 48,000, and it is now the most common form of cancer amongst men, exceeding both breast cancer and cervical cancer figures for women. As a result, voluntary prostate cancer screening campaigns are an important contribution to the health of men over 50, as there is no national screening program. As well as raising awareness of prostate cancer, the Masonic Charitable Foundation provides financial grants to fund prostate cancer research. Its support began in 2004 when they awarded a £1,000,000 grant to fund a research project led by Professor Colin Cooper, Chairman of Cancer Genetics at the University of East Anglia, which has continued to work at developing test methods to support the early diagnosis of Prostate Cancer.
Peter Kinder, the head of Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons said, “Our grateful thanks go to Jyoti Shah and Sarah Minns and their team for giving up their own time to bring the screening sessions into our Province and to local charity ProstAid for the support and guidance provided at the sessions”