Prostate cancer survivor urges others to get checked
- Credit: Supplied
A Letchworth dad who underwent surgery for prostate cancer is urging other men to get checked so it can be found and treated early.
In January 2020, Derren Martin, who was 48 at the time, had a successful operation to treat the disease. He had insisted on getting blood tests despite doctors saying that they were not necessary, and his persistence paid off as the cancer was diagnosed and treated before it could become a more serious problem.
Derren participated in Prostate Cancer UK's Run the Month challenge to raise awareness and money for the fight against prostate cancer. The virtual challenge called on people to run 50 miles or more during the month of April.
In May Prostate Cancer UK also ran the Cycle the Month challenge, where people cycle 100 miles in one month.
Derren said: "I think it's really important to raise money for these cancer fighting charities and to raise awareness of early diagnosis.
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"My main message is for men over 45 or any men over 40 with a family history of prostate cancer to get checked. It is a simple blood test and it could save your life. If it is detected early then it's very treatable."
So far Derren has raised more than £3,900 for prostate cancer. He expressed his gratitude towards everyone who donated and added: "I owe a great deal to my family and friends for their support. My wife also walked 160 miles and raised lots of money through her work."
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When Derren started the fundraiser, he only expected to raise around £400, so to have raised nearly 10 times that is a huge achievement.
Speaking about his month of running, Derren said: "I certainly did not find it easy. It was all right for the first six days and then I got injured and had to go to the physio three times.
"I had to do some run-walking to get my calf back to full fitness and then in the end I managed to run little and often to ensure I finished the challenge."
Running 50 miles in a month is not the only way that Derren has been trying to raise awareness about prostate cancer - he has also been very active on social media, particularly twitter, by sharing his experiences in order to help other men.
This has led to people reaching out and saying how Derren’s campaigning has helped them. Derren said: “I have had a guy that I used to work with who saw my posts on social media and then got himself checked and he got diagnosed with a more severe prostate cancer than me and had a similar operation.
"He is very grateful and feels as though my advice saved his life. It shows awareness works.”
Derren said that Prostate Cancer UK have been helpful to him on his journey as they are active on social media, meaning he got to see people who have gone through the same thing as him.
Gary Haines, sports PR manager at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Our top priority is to stop prostate cancer killing men, and we’re investing millions to fund research to transform the way prostate cancer is understood, diagnosed and treated.”
The pandemic has forced people to find new ways of raising money for charities. For example, a man ran up a hill in Wales 37 times, which was the equivalent of scaling Mount Everest, and raised over £16,000 for Prostate Cancer UK.
Gary said: “When we were hit by the pandemic, we lost a huge part of our ability to fundraise with mass participation events no longer happening. What Derren, and so many others, have done is embrace that challenge and find new ways to fundraise in the virtual world.”
He added: “Without men like Derren we would not be able to do the work we do, and we are hugely grateful to him and everyone that supports us.
“There are so many ways that people can support us. They can donate or take on one of our events, of which there are so many, such as running, walking, cycling, skydiving or baking cakes.
"Or you could proudly wear one of our ‘Man of Men’ pin badges that you’ll see on the lapels of Jeff Stelling and managers across the UK.”
Visit prostatecanceruk.org for more information about prostate cancer and to donate to fundraisers like Derren’s.