Prostate Cancer UK Lifeline


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Prostate Cancer UK

Sir Michael Parkinson makes an appeal on behalf of Prostate Cancer UK, a charity which supports men with the disease, raises awareness, and funds research.


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My dad's very special.

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He's been taking me to football matches

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since I was seven.

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Seeing Millwall lose is still a good day out!

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I'd hoped that we'd go to lots of Millwall matches

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but obviously now we can't because he's, um...ill.

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I take it in my stride

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because Millwall fans are meant to be tough.

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When you're a kid, you believe your dad will always be around

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to look after you.

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But there is a disease that only men can get, which can be fatal.

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And an incredible one in eight of men will end up with it.

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I'm talking about prostate cancer.

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I know because I've had it myself.

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My cancer was discovered by a routine medical examination.

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I was lucky, it was caught early, which meant I got treatment in time.

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But many men aren't so fortunate,

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and over the next few minutes,

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I want to show you how you can do something really, really important

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to help combat this terrible disease.

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William's dad, Brian, was 49

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when he started to notice some unusual symptoms.

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Having to use the toilet more often, bit more tired during the day,

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and to be quite on honest, I didn't think too much of it at first.

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I don't like going to GPs at the best of times,

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but now I wish I went a lot earlier.

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Once it was clear that his symptoms weren't going away,

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Brian's wife persuaded him to see the doctor.

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The news wasn't good.

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It was prostate cancer.

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Your head's all over the place.

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I've got a young son to bring up.

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You really are mixed up, basically, really mixed up.

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The only people I'd heard of with prostate cancer was old people.

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Because of the late diagnosis,

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Brian's cancer had already spread to his bones.

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He was told that it was terminal.

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Well, obviously you're scared of dying, aren't you?

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I mean, you don't want to go and leave a young son and wife.

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So that is what you are scared of.

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So then you fight against that.

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Thankfully, there is a charity, whose purpose is to support

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men like Brian and me who find out they have this awful disease.

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It's called Prostate Cancer UK,

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and its goal is to make more people aware of the disease

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and to fund vital research into tests and treatments,

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which could save thousands of lives.

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All men are at risk of getting prostate cancer,

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but one particular group is at double the risk, Black men.

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Errol McKellar is a car mechanic from the East End of London.

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I've been fixing cars for 40 years.

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If there's a problem with your car

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it's best you get it looked at straightaway,

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because the longer you leave it the bigger the problem is.

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Bit like health, really.

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Three years ago, Errol took himself to his GP's surgery

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after his wife complained about his snoring.

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While he was waiting he noticed some information

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left by Prostate Cancer UK.

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I picked up a leaflet that was on the table and started to read it.

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I then said to the receptionist,

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"How long will it take to do this test?"

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And she said, "Ten minutes."

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That ten minutes changed my life.

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When the test results came through, they were a complete shock to Errol.

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Despite not being aware of any symptoms, he had prostate cancer.

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What the doctors said to me is that my prostate was covered in cancer.

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He said, "Look, if we don't remove this prostate

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"you will be dead in six months."

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I just broke down. I literally just broke down.

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I was distraught, and I was in tears.

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And you know, I'm not ashamed to admit I cried.

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Errol went for surgery and had his entire prostate removed,

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followed by months of chemotherapy.

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A period of great uncertainty.

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'You imagine going into a room with no light.

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'That is what it felt like to me.'

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It felt as if someone had pulled the plug on me.

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You know? It was, it was a very difficult period.

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The treatment was a success.

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Errol is cancer free, but the side affects

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of having your prostate removed can be hard to live with.

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I have a numbness in the lower part of my body.

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I am a young person, a very active person

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and certain tools of your trade that are taken away from you

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become very difficult to deal with.

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But I'm alive. I will take whatever bonus that I have got.

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Prostate cancer affects so many of us men

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40,000 are diagnosed with it each year.

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And too many of those men

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are diagnosed too late to stop the disease in its tracks.

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As with most cancers, the earlier you detect it,

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the better your chances are.

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And that's why Prostate Cancer UK wants to raise millions

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for research to work out how to spot it as early as possible.

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We have great difficulty at the moment deciding whether

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the cancer is aggressive, a tiger, or nonaggressive, a pussy cat.

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And that's one of the major challenges of research

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is to be able to differentiate the tigers from the pussycats

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because it will make a difference to the treatment and man gets.

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So, a diagnostic test that is accurate would be a fantastic

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start in order to bring men into receiving better treatment

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for the disease, and therefore a better outcome.

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Such research is expensive

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and depends on Prostate Cancer UK's funding to continue.

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But if a successful testing regime can be developed

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that pinpoints the men most at risk as early as possible,

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then men like Errol could be left with fewer

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life-changing symptoms after treatment.

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If I turned the clock back, would I have dealt with it differently?

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Yes, I would, but I didn't know anything.

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Now he's been given a second lease of life,

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Errol is dedicated to spreading the word about prostate cancer

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in the hope that he can save lives.

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I preach every day.

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I tell the male customers when they come in,

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I say, "Listen, go and get your prostate checked.

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"If you come back and show me you have had it checked

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"I will give you a 20% discount on the repairs of your car."

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You need to go and get yourself checked once a year.

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Treat it as if it is an MOT on your body.

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And for Brian and his family, Prostate Cancer UK

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is able to offer more immediate support as the disease progresses.

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They have trained nurses.

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They're there at the end of the phone, basically,

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and they have been a big, big help.

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A big part of our lives for the last year.

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Despite living with terminal cancer,

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the charity has helped Brian and his family stay positive.

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I've got a young son to bring up, that's what get's you through it.

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You've got to be strong, keep going,

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and just don't give up.

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I've helped Prostate Cancer UK all I can.

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I've been doing fundraising.

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I hope that they will find a cure,

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so that other families don't have to go through

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what me and my family have been through.

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Prostate Cancer is on the increase.

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By 2030, it's set to be

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the most common of all cancers

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in the UK.

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We have to do something now

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to try and turn the tide.

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Research into treatments and testing has been chronically underfunded,

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but we need to continue this work

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if we want to reduce the number of men dying too soon.

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You can make a difference right now,

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by donating generously to Prostate Cancer UK.

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Please go to the website:

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where you can donate.

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If you haven't got internet access please call 0800 011 011.

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And if you can't get through the first time please keep trying.

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Telephone calls are free from most landlines.

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Some networks and mobile operators will charge for these calls.

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You can also donate £10 by texting DONATE to 70121.

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Texts cost £10 plus your standard network message charge

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and the whole £10 goes to Prostate Cancer UK.

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Full terms and conditions can be found at bbc.co.uk/lifeline

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Or if you'd like to post a donation,

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please make your cheque payable to Prostate Cancer UK

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and send it to Freepost, BBC Lifeline Appeal,

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writing Prostate Cancer UK on the back of the envelope.

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And if you want the charity to claim Gift Aid on your donation,

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please include an e-mail or postal address

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so that they can send you a Gift Aid form.

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Thank you.

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Veteran chat show host Sir Michael Parkinson makes an appeal on behalf of Prostate Cancer UK, a charity which supports men with the disease, raises awareness, and funds vital research into better tests and treatments which could save thousands of lives. Michael has fought his own battle with prostate cancer, so he knows what it's like to live with this disease, which affects 1 in 8 men in the UK at some point in their lives.

The film also features Brian and his 11-year-old son, William. In his 40s Brian started experiencing some symptoms, but he put off visiting the doctor. The idea that he might have prostate cancer never occurred to him, as he thought it was just an old man's disease. When he finally sought help, he discovered he was already in the advanced stages of prostate cancer, and surgery was no longer an option. Brian and his son talk about how they are coping with the situation and how Prostate Cancer UK has supported them. Through the research it funds, the charity is fighting for a future where there might be more effective ways of detecting and treating this disease.