AN Irvinestown man suffering from prostate cancer has urged men to get tested for the disease now as early diagnosis can mean the difference between life and death.
Patrick Bacco from Fairgreen Street was diagnosed with prostate cancer 18 months ago and has been undergoing treatment for it since then.
“I got back pains and initially thought it was sciatica, but after having some tests, the doctor said I had prostate cancer,” Mr Bacco said.
“It came as a big shock as I hadn’t expected that diagnosis, but men can take their health for granted.
“Generally, there are no obvious signs of the disease so you should get tested every year anyway. No matter how you feel, go to your doctor and have a check-up. The sooner, the better. You won’t regret it.”
The 71-year-old retired chef has lived in Irvinestown for 20 years but is originally from Seychelles.
“I’ve been a chef all my life. I came to Torquay in Devon from Seychelles 50 years ago and have worked all over the UK and southern Ireland since,” he explained. “When I left Seychelles and arrived in Torquay at 8 in the morning it was pitch dark and I said to myself: ‘What am I doing here!?’ But I got used to it as time went on.
“I worked locally in different restaurants in Fermanagh for 20 years before retiring.”
Prostate Cancer UK has warned that Northern Ireland is one of several UK regions being left behind in a cancer ‘postcode lottery’, as the latest data shows huge variation in the likelihood of patients being diagnosed after their cancer has spread beyond the prostate and become incurable.
In Northern Ireland, 1 in 5 (20 per cent) of men with prostate cancer are diagnosed with metastatic disease.. Scotland, Wales, and the North and Midlands of England are also shown to be badly affected.
Overall, 226 men are diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer every year in Northern Ireland.
“When I got diagnosed with prostate cancer it came as a big shock, but I am having treatment now, and hopefully, I’ll be OK,” Mr Bacco said.
“Men should take their health seriously and not ignore the signals.”
Prostate Cancer UK is calling for action to tackle these health inequalities – particularly in Northern Ireland and other badly-hit regions – by encouraging men across the country to use its 30-second online risk checker to help them understand their risk and what they can do about it.
You can find Prostate Cancer UK’s 30-second online risk checker here: https://prostatecanceruk.org/
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