West Lothian Cancer Support Group celebrates 15 years of helping others

A West Lothian support group is celebrating 15 years of fighting to raise awareness of one of the most common cancers while helping those who have been affected.

The West Lothian Prostate Cancer Support Group celebrated the anniversary with members and guests last week at the Crofthead Farm Community Center.

They heard about the group’s wonderful accomplishments in raising awareness of the disease over the past 15 years and from speakers about current and future treatments that are available to patients.

But they also heard that due to the pandemic, many men had avoided or were unable to see a doctor to discuss the symptoms they were experiencing.

Prostate cancer can affect one in 10 men in Scotland and is the most common cancer in men in Scotland.

But as the number of people diagnosed with prostate cancer in Scotland increases, so too do survival rates, particularly when symptoms have been recognised, an early diagnosis made and treatment started.

Group leader Charlie Hogg spoke about his accomplishments

However, worryingly, not all men will have symptoms in the early stages. Some men can have this condition in later years without causing any problems.

And that’s where the support group comes in. For the past 15 years, he has offered vital support to men receiving treatment and their families and helped them make choices about their procedures or refer them to more information and help.

Group leader Charlie Hogg said: “After the last two years of the pandemic, many men have avoided seeing their doctors when they have symptoms related to urine control or pain.

“A recent report from Prostate UK estimated that around 16,000 men in the UK are undiagnosed and that one in eight men are expected to have prostate cancer, it’s time for men to get tested. “

Charlie said the group had also worked with West Lothian Council and local GP practices to get this message across.

He continued: ‘The support group, with the help of the council, have posted information on the council’s website and sent a letter to all GP practices in West Lothian explaining the campaign.

Dr Brendan McCann, consultant clinical oncologist at Beatson West of Scotland, spoke about the treatment progress

“We have also asked for the details to be distributed amongst their entire team and to request a supply of leaflets and posters. They can also request an informational discussion from a member of the group to any part of their team who could benefit from a better understanding of any issues and the local support available.

Charlie also said the group provides a valuable ‘buddies’ support system that allows men to talk to other men either on the phone or in a meeting.

All have or have had prostate cancer and have undergone different forms of treatment. Members share their experiences with diagnosis and treatments and many members say it was a ‘helping hand’ during a very difficult time’

At each meeting the group welcomes experienced guest speakers and last week was no different when members heard Dr Brendan McCann, consultant urologist at Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Center, talk about current and future treatments for men diagnosed with with prostate cancer.

The group is working hard on new campaigns to raise awareness about prostate cancer and all the help it can offer. For more information contact Charlie Hogg on 01506 845981 or email him at [email protected] or contact Duncan Wallace at [email protected]

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Virginia S. Braud