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East Lancs Prostate Cancer Support Group Formed

With Prostate Cancer effecting 36,000 men in the UK and being a disease that is often embarrassing to talk about, never mind being diagnosed; support groups for those diagnosed with the disease are an extremely important tool in the fight against the disease.

click to go to websiteKath Quinn, a CWU Union Safety Rep based in Blackburn and a key supporter of the NW BTU Health & Safety Co-ord, contacted Unionsafety in order to highlight both the issue of prostate cancer and the fact that a very important support group for those suffering from Prostate Cancer and their families, was being set up in her area.

This briefly is their story:

In mid 2010 NHS Urology Clinical Nurse Specialists mailed all the Prostate Cancer Patients within the East Lancashire Hospitals area, informing them that they intended setting up a Prostate Cancer Support Group within the Burnley area.  The first meeting of the ‘new group’ was arranged for the 3rd November 2010.

It was agreed that meetings should be held every month, - on the first Thursday of the month at Burnley Gen. Hospital’s Mackenzie Medical Centre.

The support group name was chosen to reflect the geographical area covered; Burnley, Pendle, Blackburn, Hyndburn, Rossendale, Clitheroe, and Todmorden.


The second meeting of the group took place on Thurs 6th January 2011 with 24 people attending.

IT is intended for the 2012 meetings to be held at THE CONFERENCE CENTRE, PENDLESIDE HOSPICE, 2 - 4pm on the first Thurs of each month.

The group’s aim is to help and assure men with Prostate Cancer that they are not alone and that they need not feel isolated. They can inform members about different types of treatments and where they can obtain medical advice.

They regularly have Guest Speakers, mostly from the Medical Profession.

The secretary of the support group, Stuart Marshall told Unionsafety:

“ Prostate Cancer affects 36,000 men in the U.K. Our Support Group is dedicated to helping and offering support to Men and their Families, Carers, or Supporters who may be suffering from the effects of this dreadful disease within the East Lancashire area.”

Stuart continued:

“ A large percentage of patients attend our meetings with their Wives or Partners and they all contribute to the meetings by informing members of how they best come to terms with their own personal difficulty’s and the ways in which it can affect their lives and relationships.  It is important for Patients to have these ‘open discussions’ because it is a known fact that men are very reserved when it comes to speaking about their health issues or problems.”

Media interestThose attending the support group meetings are a very friendly bunch who all have the one thing in common – prostrate cancer.  Every visitor attending the meetings is made to feel very welcome and to be part of the group. It offers men the opportunity to speak with other people about their Prostate Cancer, men who will have experienced the same as what they are going through. 

“It does no good burying heads in the sand!”, the group’s secretary told Unionsafety.

To exemplify this, Stuart Marshall told the website of the sad story of a man attending early meetings of the group:

“One member came to our meetings in April and May 2011 after being diagnosed with the Cancer in April.  Prior to being diagnosed positive he had been having considerable discomfort and back ache, however he dismissed it by saying it’s probably due to driving and he passed it off by saying ‘it will be ok.’  He did’nt think it was necessary to visit his GP.  Sadly he passed away in September 2011 at the young age of mid 40’s., - five months after diagnoses!”

This sad story amplifies the message of the support group:

“If a man notices unusual or uncomfortable symptoms he should not hesitate to have it checked by his GP, it is only a matter of having the simple PSA blood test. 

It is important to note that patients can be successfully treated, particularly if the Cancer has been diagnosed whilst in it’s early stages.  Not all Prostate Cancers are aggressive, hence some patients being under Active Surveillance.”

There are mainly three types of patient who attend the support group meetings:

a) Men who have had Prostate Surgery
b) Men who are having Treatment (either before or following surgery)
c) Men who are diagnosed with the disease and have had no Treatments or Surgery at all.

These men are often under what is defined as Active Surveillance. ie regular blood tests to check PSA levels in the blood.  PSA – (Prostate Specific Antigen) is a Protein which is secreted by the Prostate Gland and travels in the blood.  (Active Surveillance is also often defined as ‘watch and wait’)

You can find further information about the EAST LANCS PROSTATE CANCER SUPPORT GROUP from their website here

Source: Kath Quinn / Stuart Marshall

The E-Library Database contains information on Prostate Cancer. Find the documents using the search word Prostate

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