Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text SWINDON NEWS to 80360 or email us
It’s time to talk about it, says cancer survivor
A PROSTATE cancer survivor who fought back through the support of fellow sufferers has embarked on a mission to break the deafening silence over the illness.
Fred Bassett, from Old Town, was diagnosed with the disease out of the blue in 2006 following a standard check-up at his GP practice, having experienced no pain or urinary problems.
He was given the all-clear five years ago and has set out to raise awareness of the emotional help and comfort available to men in Swindon undergoing treatment or dealing with the life-long side-effects of prostate cancer.
Fred, 75, joined affected by cancer (abc), a support group based at Lawn Community Centre, in Windsor Road, after spotting an advertisement for the organisation in the Adver.
Surprised to be one of the few men there, he decided to encourage his peers to conquer their fear of confiding in others. Four years ago he created a male branch of abc with Macmillan Cancer Support funding.
“Men are more reticent to talk about cancer,” he said.
“It’s very emotional.
“It is important to have somebody to talk to who has already gone through the same treatment. There is help out there and there are people you can talk to, whether at the Great Western Hospital or in support groups.”
Fred underwent hormone therapy, which brought on menopause-like symptoms, including hot flushes, tender and sensitive breasts and fatigue.
This was followed six months later by radiotherapy. The treatment left him incontinent. But the toughest part was receiving the diagnosis after a battery of tests.
The father of three sons said: “After six months I then had radiotherapy in Oxford. It made me very ill for quite a while. I remember being in great pain at times. I experienced loss of control of my bowels completely for a while. Being told that I had cancer was quite devastating.”
Fred will share his experience with patients at the Urology Living Well Day organised by the nurse who has supported him through his ordeal, Sian Fletcher, and her colleague Katy Margesson, at the Great Western Hospital on November 6.
The booked-out event is to offer advice and guidance on living with prostate cancer. To register your interest for upcoming information days email email@example.com To find out more about abc visit www.abcswindon.org