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‘Time makes all the difference’ - prostate cancer survivor urges symptom check ups during lockdown after shock diagnosis

PUBLISHED: 19:00 03 June 2020 | UPDATED: 19:00 03 June 2020

Dave Marshall was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February 2019. He is pictured with his dog Mia, who went to radiotherapy sessions at Addenbrooke's Hospital with him. Picture: DAVE MARSHALL

Dave Marshall was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February 2019. He is pictured with his dog Mia, who went to radiotherapy sessions at Addenbrooke's Hospital with him. Picture: DAVE MARSHALL

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A man who has recently survived prostate cancer is concerned men aren’t going to their doctor for check ups during the coronavirus pandemic - and has warned it cannot wait.

Dave and his wife Christine,  from Glemsford, on a walk as part of his lifestyle change to deal with his cancer treatment better. Picture: DAVE MARSHALLDave and his wife Christine, from Glemsford, on a walk as part of his lifestyle change to deal with his cancer treatment better. Picture: DAVE MARSHALL

Dave Marshall, from Glemsford, overlooked the initial signs of prostate cancer because he was unfamiliar with the symptoms - so was shocked when he was diagnosed in February 2019.

“Men live with the symptoms of prostate cancer and don’t even know it,” the 71-year-old said.

“They will put up with the symptoms, because either they believe there’s something else wrong or they try to hide the truth.

“I didn’t believe I had any chance of having cancer whatsoever. I just thought it would be something else – it never even entered my head at that stage.

Dave bought a cocker spaniel puppy named Mia to keep him fit and healthy with countrside walks during his treatment. Picture: DAVE MARSHALLDave bought a cocker spaniel puppy named Mia to keep him fit and healthy with countrside walks during his treatment. Picture: DAVE MARSHALL

“I think it’s extremely common – we all think we’re these big, strong, burly blokes but the bottom line is most men are wimps, most men don’t like going to the doctor.

“I think it’s far better to know what’s wrong with you, for your sake and the sake of those around you.”

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Luckily, Mr Marshall completed his four weeks of daily radiotherapy treatment before the Covid-19 outbreak. However, he is concerned other men will be putting off getting a check up even more now during the lockdown.

There has been a worrying drop in the number of cancer referrals, which suggests people are afraid of getting infected with the virus if they go to hospital or their doctors’ surgery.

Macmillan Cancer Support is asking people to get in touch with their GP if they experience a range of new health issues, including changes to their body, unexplained lumps or bleeding and coughs which don’t go away after three weeks.

Mr Marshall added: “There are many things being put on hold by this virus, but if your body is in trouble it simply cannot wait a few months.

“Time makes all the difference when it comes to prostate cancer, because the earlier the diagnosis, the better your chance of surviving, or living longer with it.

“Coronavirus is not an excuse to stick your head in the sand.”

The Suffolk golfer has continued to have blood tests every six months to check for signs of recurring cancer and his latest test recently came back with good results.

The Macmillan Support Line is open seven days a week between 8am and 8pm on 0808 808 00 00. For comprehensive information and support, visit the website.


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