St Albans prostate cancer survivor urges all men to get tested before it's too late
PUBLISHED: 14:57 15 June 2018
A prostate cancer survivor has urged men to reject the taboo and just get tested for the fatal disease.
Gary Davis is a wildlife photographer from St Albans who received his diagnosis after he was screened on a whim in 2016.
The then 61-year-old dad had no symptoms, no family history of tumours, and no indication he was at risk.
He said: “For me it was difficult because I have been pretty healthy all my life, except from coughs and colds - and I had a check purely by chance.
“I have lived a really interesting life, I have been all over the world and run a business, brought up from nothing, but nothing compares to the feeling of somebody saying you have cancer.
“Out of all the stuff that has been said to me in my life, when I heard that - we [Gary and the doctor] both had tears in our eyes.”
Gary was advised to undergo a robotic assisted prostatectomy, which is a type of surgery aided by machines.
Since the operation, Gary has not experienced one of his biggest fears, incontinence. After an untactful experience with a consultant, Gary thought he would rather die than have urine “pouring out of him”.
He is now waiting for just one more check to confirm the cancer is completely gone and has thanked charity Prostate Cancer UK for their support: “Thank you so much for being honest and telling me the truth - there was no scare mongering, just facts, and I just wanted facts, I didn’t want the emotion.”
Gary has urged every man to get tested: “I felt both shocked and totally ignorant - at that point I knew nothing about it. I felt ashamed that I didn’t know and then I read all this stuff online about people dying and I thought ‘oh my God’.
“I am not a morbid person but if I had not had that diagnosis and hadn’t had that check I probably would have serious prostate cancer now.”
He is so thankful that Gary will give his first ever polar bear picture, hopefully taken on an Arctic trip this summer, to his doctor.
Prostate Cancer UK are fundraising at a March for Men event tomorrow at the Olympic Park in Stratford.
Find out more about the charity and the event at prostatecanceruk.org