Cancer patient urges men to get 'checked out' during prostate cancer awareness month

Cancer patient urges men to get 'checked out'

Cancer patient urges men to get 'checked out'

First published in News
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Haringey Independent: Photograph of the Author by

A cancer patient at North Middlesex University is urging men to get a health check this month, saying his check last summer probably saved his life.

Vincent O’Dea was diagnosed with prostate cancer last summer following a health check at his local GP.

He had no reason to suspect he had the illness, initially seeing his doctor about pain in his knees.

Now, the 64-year-old, of Bush Hill Park in Enfield, is keen to encourage fellow men to get ‘checked out’.

He said: “I would say to all men: get yourself checked out by your GP. Just ask for a prostate test. There is no cost and it take seconds. It could save your life. It probably has saved mine."

Mr O’Dea described the events leading up to his diagnosis.

He said: “I was doing a heavy session of gardening and had pain in my knees, so I went to see my GP because I thought I might have arthritis. I didn't, but he suggested that I had an ‘MOT’ health check, to use his words. It was a result of a blood test which found that I had a slightly raised level of prostate specific antigen, that it was discovered that I had prostate cancer. I didn't have any other symptoms. 

"When the doctor at North Middlesex University Hospital said, 'I'm afraid we have found cancer', it stops you in your tracks and it stopped me. But the treatment I've had since has been absolutely excellent. I'm very happy with it, the radiotherapy has been very effective and I've learned a lot about the new linac from the radiotherapy team here at North Mid."

Since the discovery, he has had regular sessions of radiotherapy at the hospital in Sterling Way, Edmonton, new ‘TrueBeam linac’ which was opened by Tottenham Hotspur player Moussa Dembele and club legend Ledley King, last November.

The hospital this month is hosting its first prostate cancer screening clinic at the Selby community centre in Tottenham on Thursday, March 20.

Tottenham Hotspur has also joined forces with the hospital for its 'get to know Cancer' campaign’, which aims to raise awareness of the disease among men, and avid Spurs fan Vincent is delighted to see his beloved side getting involved.

He said: “I think it is great that Spurs are raising awareness of cancer in the local area. It is important they work in the local community as they are so respected and getting their fans to get tested is a really good thing.

“There's a group of local men who are receiving this treatment every day. We're a kind of social club, only we're all here sipping our glasses of water before our turn for treatment.

"I can never be sure that I'm 100 per cent clear of cancer, but I feel well and I am looking forward to seeing my children and my grandchildren grow old.”

North Middlesex Hospital consultant oncologist Dr Anna Thompson, said: “Vincent is doing really well and his cheerfulness and positivity is helping other patients through their radiotherapy treatment too. 

"The recommendations are that any men with urinary symptoms such as difficulty passing water or going too often should speak to their GP. It doesn't mean it's prostate cancer but it's safer to check. This is especially true if you have a family history of prostate cancer."

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