The father of one of Blackburn Rovers Community Trust’s coaches has urged as many men as possible to attend this Saturday’s prostate cancer screenings at Ewood Park in the hope that local lives can be saved in the same way as his.
Ian Hoyle, father of the Trust’s community sports coach Adam, is fully backing the screenings being undertaken thanks to the support of Barry Kilby’s Prostate Cancer Appeal and the East Lancashire Prostate Cancer Support Group, having undergone eight months of treatment that have hopefully left him just two weeks away from being told he has beaten the condition.
Though Ian’s diagnosis was through pure chance, he believes that any men in the target age range of over 50 should take this chance to undertake the simple blood test in the Legends’ Lounge within the Darwen End between 10am and 1pm this Saturday, as early treatment is the best – and possibly only – chance of saving the lives of anyone with this potentially terminal cancer.
“I know it’s a frightening thing to go and get tested for cancer, but I’d definitely say ‘do it’,” he explained. “It’s a no brainer really, because prostate cancer kills so many men.
“I found it early, but it was a pure fluke, because I’d gone to the doctors over something else, and he asked me how I was. I mentioned that I was getting up every two to three hours in my sleep to go to the toilet and he suggested doing a blood test. That’s when I found out that it was positive for cancer.”
The former Ewood Park steward’s diagnosis in February has led to eight months of treatment, including 37 blasts of radiotherapy over consecutive weekdays. However, the battle has been worth fighting, as Ian is now just a fortnight away from finding out whether his treatment has been successful, with high hopes of a successful outcome.
Though he has suffered from heavy fatigue as a side effect of the treatment, he is now set to recover and hopes to regain his fitness in a bid to return to work after six months’ absence. He expressed his gratitude to the ‘absolutely brilliant’ NHS staff, his employers and those closest to him for standing by his side throughout the process, adding:
“I’m very relieved that it’s something that I’ve had done and luckily I’ve had my wife by my side all the time; I haven’t been at home pondering.
“There are side effects to the treatment, fatigue being the main one. I haven’t suffered any other problems, but two other guys that I got to know by getting treated at the same time struggled; they were in a lot of pain when they went to the toilet. Luckily I didn’t have anything like that.
“My workplace have been really, really good with me. They said ‘just come back when you’re right’, as they don’t want me to come in and have to go back home again because I’m tired. Whether all companies would be like that, I don’t know – I daresay some wouldn’t!
“I really want to be back as soon as I can now and just get back into a normal daily routine, but I can’t do any strenuous exercises or swimming yet. It means that I’ve piled a load of weight on, so when they give me the green light, I need to get some sort of exercise done and then I can go back to work.”
He can fully understand why many people would be reluctant to face up to the reality that they could have cancer, but his first hand experiences make him the ideal role model for other men who have reached their half century and should be thinking seriously about undergoing a very swift and straight-forward health check in a sporting setting this weekend. He concluded:
“I don’t know whether I’d have come to an event like this, to be honest – and that is frightening when you think about what that could have entailed.
“They call it the silent killer. The other two blokes I got to know during my treatment had no symptoms whatsoever. One of them had been for a blood test for something else, and the first question they asked when he went back for the results was ‘how long have you had prostate cancer?’. He had no idea that he had it.
“The NHS nurse I was first speaking to asked ‘be honest with me, if you hadn’t gone to the doctor about your ankle, would you have spoken to him about waking up in the night?’. I told her that I’d have simply put it down to being 55-years-old and working 12-hour shifts, to which she told me that was exactly the problem – men just don’t go to the doctors.
“Hopefully this event on Saturday is the ideal substitute location. It may be frightening to think that you’re coming along to discover whether you’ve got prostate cancer, but the opportunity is there to put your mind at rest.
“Certainly if you’ve got any symptoms, like being in a lot of pain when you’re peeing or waking up in the night a lot like I was, you’d be foolish not to come. The sooner you get it treated, the easier and the better it is for everybody.”
Blackburn Rovers Community Trust would like to thank Northcote for the free facility hire of the Legends’ Lounge this weekend. The event is available to all men aged 50 or over on a first-come, first-served basis between 10am and 1pm, with access via the Darwen End reception.
The tests have been subsidised to just £5 per person thanks to the generous support of Barry Kilby’s Prostate Cancer Appeal – a small price to pay for potentially saving your life.