A WIDOWER living with incurable prostate cancer has described how he feels 'horrible' about the devastating impact of late diagnosis and the 'postcode lottery'.

One in six prostate cancer patients at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust received their diagnosis late.

Ian Smith,  a former King's School pupil, retired city chartered accountant former chairman at Bishop Fleming and ex-carer for his late wife, has stage 4 advanced, incurable, metastatic prostate cancer.

He is campaigning to improve the lives of others battling the same illness and boosting awareness via his blog after losing his wife to a degenerative brain disease.

Worcester News: AWARENESS: Ian Smith has raised awareness of prostate cancer via his blog AWARENESS: Ian Smith has raised awareness of prostate cancer via his blog (Image: Ian Smith)

He said: "It's horrible for the people involved and their family. I feel desperately sorry for them and a bit guilty because I can afford medical insurance and they can't."

The 63-year-old, of Lulsley between Alfrick and Knightwick, had regular PSA tests until Covid stopped them and has since been treated by a combination of radiotherapy and hormone therapy, including 'wonder drug' Abiraterone.

However, the grandfather said this drug was not available to all prostate cancer patients in England as it was in Scotland and Wales, describing a 'postcode lottery' which was down to NICE.  

The former accountant has also emphasised the role of awareness of prostate cancer and GPs in early diagnosis.

"I had no symptoms whatsoever and, if it had not been for regular PSA tests, I would not have known and the cancer would be raging around my body," he said.

Prostate Cancer Research has found many NHS trusts across the country lack key diagnostic techniques and treatments, meaning many people are only getting diagnosed when the disease has already spread.

Early diagnosis is crucial to survival as just a third of patients live for five years or more once the cancer spreads beyond the prostate.

Ahead of International Men’s Day on Sunday, charities have urged eligible men to seek free screening tests for the disease, which kills thousands in the UK each year.

The figures show 16 per cent of people with prostate cancer were diagnosed at an advanced stage at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust in 2022 – roughly the same as the average of 17 per cent in England.

Analysis suggests more than 2,600 lives could be saved across the country if late diagnosis was cut to 5 per cent– the lowest level achieved by a hospital trust – across the board.

Oliver Kemp, chief executive of Prostate Cancer Research, said: “We are seriously concerned that some parts of the UK don’t have the same level of equipment or testing capacity as others."

Diagnostics can include biopsies and different type of scans. Eight out of nine were available at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust last year.

Patients at the trust also had access to four out of nine treatment options, which can include chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Overall, there were more options for both diagnostics and treatments in the south of England. Trusts there also offered more support services, such as psychological and genetic counselling.

 However, their analysis of the National Prostate Cancer Audit showed English regions had begun to tackle the pandemic backlog and referrals were above pre-pandemic levels in 2022.

Laura Kerby, chief executive at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Unfortunately, early prostate cancer usually doesn’t have any symptoms, which is why men need to be aware of their risk and should take our online risk checker to find out more.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The UK National Screening Committee is currently reviewing six prostate cancer screening proposals submitted during its annual call for topics."

Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer can contact Prostate Cancer UK's specialist nurses on weekdays on 0800 074 8383 or online at www.prostatecanceruk.org.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust had not responded to a request for a comment before the paper went to press.