SAFC fan's prostate cancer battle: He urges others to 'get checked'
'I was absolutely terrified and in total denial'
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A Sunderland fan has described his fight with cancer - and how he only found out after following the tragic story of Bill Turnbull.
SAFC season ticket holder Ian Pattison will finish three years of treatment this month.
'I used to think I had an air of invincibility'
It included 3 months of hormone therapy then 20 sessions of radiotherapy.
The signs are good and Ian, a retired cognitive therapist, is doing well.
But it was only after watching the documentary on television presenter Bill Turnbull - who died this time last year - that Durham man Ian got checked out.
Ian, now 69, said: "It was a wake-up call, listening to Bill talk about his own experiences of prostate cancer and the fact that his cancer was so advanced.
Journeys to hospital in the snow and ice
"The image he shared of his bone scan highlighting how the cancer had spread across his body will stay with me. I shared some of the symptoms Bill described, particularly pains/aches in lower back."
Ian went to his GP, had further tests and discovered he had prostate cancer in September 2020 at 66.
In the middle of the pandemic, he faced trips from Durham to Newcastle in the snow and ice for treatment at the Freeman Hospital.
'I have lost body hair and become more fatigued'
"The radiotherapy targeted my prostate and pelvic lymph nodes and am now in my final year of 3 years of androgen deprivation therapy," he said.
"I used to think I had an air of invincibility, a keen sportsman who could bounce around fells but treatment has exposed vulnerabilities. I have lost body hair, become more fatigued."
"Bill's documentary Staying Alive has been uplifting to me and helped considerably in my own fight against the disease."
A family link to prostate cancer
Ian's own father was diagnosed with prostate cancer and died aged 91.
Ian shared his story with the Sunderland Echo after we told how SAFC star Gary Bennett MBE had also been diagnosed.
Getting an early checkout is vital
He needs check-ups every three-to-six-months to 'keep on top of it' and urged other men: "Go and get checked out. Make sure there's nothing wrong."
Although it affects all men, black men are two-to-three times more likely to develop prostate cancer than their white counterparts.
Gary had blood tests which showed cells in his prostate were cancerous. He had an operation to remove his prostate earlier this year and is now in recovery.
Take the online checker which could save lives
He told the Sunderland Echo: "It is a shock to anyone to hear that dreaded word. It is something that affects many families."
Ian backed his call for men to get checked out and said: "It spurred me to go to the doctors and I still did not think I had it."
The 30-second risk checker aims to help men understand their risk and decide whether a PSA blood test is right for them.
You can find it here.