Growing concern over the increasing number of deaths from prostate cancer has led us to offer a screening test to all employees. We decided to launch the programme to tackle the second leading cause of cancer deaths and the most common cancer in men.
It comes after Steve Chester, who works in the Technical Services Department, saw a warning poster about the condition in the toilets at work. It led him ask his GP to arrange for a screening test – called a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test – which came back positive. Further tests revealed a need for urgent surgery from which he recovered and is now awaiting the results of a final check which, if all clear, will mean Steve is in remission.
He told his story by way of encouraging other men to take the test and this came to the attention of Lisa Marshall our Head of Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) for the company. She has now launched the programme which has been thrown open to all staff with the only proviso being that men under 40 will need to consult the Occupational Health Physician first.
There are approximately 515 eligible men at the Boulby and Teesdock sites. So far, 15 of them have been screened and received their results with a further 22 were set to be tested this week. Lisa explained: “It is a blood test which can indicate, although not exclusively, the presence of a cancer. The blood samples are sent away to a laboratory and some people who were tested recently on a Friday received their results back on Monday. It’s very early days but the indications are promising.”
Nationwide screening for prostate cancer is not generally available because, as Cancer Research UK points out, current tests are not conclusive and don’t reduce the number of men dying from the disease.
“Although we aware of the debate around PSA tests, our colleague Steve is convinced it saved his life,” explained Lisa. “So, after careful thought, we decided to go ahead and offer the test to those who want it.”
It is not known how many, if any, other companies offer such a screening programme.
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