Red Sock Campaign To Aid Prostate Cancer Sufferers

A RETIRED businessman is to launch a campaign to improve support for men diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Keith Cass, who has stage four prostate cancer, believes there are few services available in Wales and the UK for men with the disease.

The 60-year-old grandfather wants to see a screening campaign introduced for younger men in a bid to pick up more early-stage tumours.

And his Red Sock Campaign – so-called because he has been wearing red socks since his diagnosis in 2006 – will also raise funds for research into the common disease.

Mr Cass’s campaign has been inspired by his experiences of prostate cancer over the course of the last two years.

He was diagnosed with the disease after undergoing a routine PSA test, on the advice of a nurse.

He said he suffered no symptoms and had never been ill, even though the cancer, which had spread to his lymph glands, could have been growing for up to 20 years.

The father-of-four, from Cardiff, said, “My results showed that I had the most progressive form of the disease, stage four – one being the least advanced and four the most.

“There is little treatment that can be given at stage four. I know my cancer will kill me.

“More than 35,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the UK and 10,000 die from the disease – that’s 180 deaths per week, or one every hour and yet we know comparatively little about this form of the disease.

“That’s why I have set up the Red Sock Campaign so that with what little time I have left I can dedicate myself to making sure that men know about this disease and know that if caught early enough it can be treated.

“If men were routinely screened from age 50 onwards we would vastly reduce the incidence of stage three and four of the disease and stop it killing so many.

“We also need to raise funds for research as I believe that to be the only route to defeat prostate cancer.”

After his diagnosis, Mr Cass consulted experts around the world, including in Canada, where he saw, for the first time, the amount of support on offer to men with the disease – similar to the group-based support systems which are currently available for women with breast cancer.

He said, “When I go to Velindre or the Heath, I see men sitting in a corridor in little, school-type chairs, facing blank walls while they are waiting to find out whether their life is coming to an end.

“These facilities are almost draconian.

“I was given just one book when I was diagnosed, the final page explained what stage four prostate cancer was.

“When I visited Toronto I came back with in excess of 30 leaflets and books about prostate cancer, many of which described the symptoms of stage four.

“What was interesting was that they had a room called Man to Man and Side by Side, where men, such as myself, could sit and talk together about issues affecting them after diagnosis.

“In Canada and the US this is a huge priority because prostate cancer kills so many men – I believe that Wales could become the lead for this type of approach.”

Maggie Hughes, of Cancer Research Wales, said, “As many men are diagnosed with prostate cancer as women are with breast cancer, it’s just making men aware and getting them to talk about it that is so difficult.

“Yet with the Red Sock Campaign and with Keith himself we have a way of publicising this disease and reaching out to its sufferers.”

Money raised by the Red Sock Campaign will support the research work being led by Professor Malcolm Mason in Wales.

The Red Sock Campaign will be launched on April 18 with a black tie dinner and cabaret at the Holland House Hotel. For more details email [email protected]