Published Wednesday, 12 June 2013
As part of UTV's Stand By Your Man Father's Day campaign, one survivor has described his experience of battling prostate cancer.
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The campaign is encouraging men and their loved ones to open up and talk about their health.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in Northern Ireland. Around 600 men are diagnosed each year and 75% survive the disease.
Patrick Taggart was 45 years old when he first noticed the warning signs.
He was going to the toilet more frequently and it was keeping him up at night.
"I knew something was wrong, at that stage I had a few things wrong with my physically. I had a sore knee, a sore back, so I collected up several ailments and I thought 'now is the time to go to the doctor'," he told UTV.
He said blood tests revealed high levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) which indicated a potential problem with his prostate but later biopsy results came back negative.
"I assumed I didn't have cancer but over the years my PSA continued to rise and I had a total of three biopsies came back negative," Patrick explained.
"In the spring of 2009, the urologist performed a different kind of biopsy, taking tissue from the centre of the prostate.
"When he did that he found the tumour. Even though I knew there was something wrong with my prostate and that I might have prostate cancer, when I was actually told the news it came as quite a shock."
Patrick's tumour was described as aggressive but hadn't spread.
He was given two choices of treatment, hormonal therapy followed by radiotherapy or surgery.
"In the end I opted for surgery, I had the surgery in May 2009," Patrick said.
The operation went well but in 2010 his PSA levels started to climb, and he found his cancer had come back.
Patrick then underwent radiotherapy for six weeks.
"That was in early 2011 and I'm still free of cancer as far as we know."
Patrick has stressed that men should not be embarrassed and that it was important to get checked out.
"If you are having symptoms such as difficulty peeing, having to pee often, difficulty getting the flow started- definitely go to your doctor because prostate cancer is one of those cancers that can be managed successfully in the majority of cases.
"It's not something to be scared of and it will be of no benefit just to pretend it's not happening."
Owen Sharp, Prostate Cancer UK's CEO said: "Everyone with a father, husband, partner, brother, son or best mate has a vested interest in this cause. The breast cancer movement is an inspiration to us.
"We need the same sense of momentum, inspiration and galvanising spirit to fight prostate cancer and help more men to survive the disease and enjoy higher quality of life."Involving the nation through UTV's Stand By Your Man campaign could help potentially save many lives because prostate cancer can be successfully treated if detected early enough."