THE number of men at risk of prostate cancer is Dorset is ‘significantly worse’ than the rest of the country- and yet 80 per cent say they wouldn’t see their doctor even if they knew they were at risk.

Now, a leading surgeon at Dorset County Hospital is urging men not to suffer in silence as a simple test could save their lives.

Prostate cancer is responsible for one in 12 of all deaths caused by cancer in the county- yet a third of male residents are unaware of the risks.

A recent report from Public Health England’s Urological Cancer Profiles says incidence of prostate cancer in Dorset is significantly higher than the England average. One in six men in Dorset are at risk.

The figures record that in the West Dorset District Council, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and Purbeck District Council areas, the number of men with prostate cancer is ‘significantly worse’ than the rest of England.

Mr Naveed Afzal, lead Consultant Urologist and robotic surgeon at DCH- recorded as being one of the best centres for prostate cancer treatment in the country- is encouraging men to request a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test from their GP.

He said: “This simple screening blood test is available in many Western European countries and North America for men over 50 for the early detection of prostate cancer. However, there is no such nationwide screening available for prostate cancer in the UK.

“Men over 50 could request their GP to check their PSA at least once. If it is normal then there is no need for further yearly PSA screening. It can help to identify any men harbouring prostate cancer. If the cancer is diagnosed in the early stages it can be cured completely, saving the devastating effects of incurable prostate cancer.

“Prostate cancer often grows slowly to start with and may never cause any problems. But some men have prostate cancer that is more likely to spread. This needs treatment to stop it spreading outside the prostate.”

One of Mr Afzal’s patients is 56-year-old William Hamilton, who had a PSA test after getting symptoms. He has undergone more tests and is awaiting his results to find out if it is prostate cancer. He has bravely come forward to encourage other men to see their GP.

“Unfortunately the test isn’t offered as routine but if you have any symptoms, or you’re over 50 and a little bit overweight or have a family history, you can ask for it,” he said.

“It’s surprising how common prostate cancer is; I’ve talked to so many people either going through it, or who has a relative or a friend going through it.

“I am hoping there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully sharing this story can help others, that’s the positive to come out of it.”

TREATMENTS at Dorset County Hospital include multi parametric MRI scans, transperineal template biopsies, HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) and the Da Vinci robotic prostatectomy.

"Prostate cancer can develop when cells in the prostate start to grow in an uncontrolled way," said Mr Afzal.

"Prostate cancer that is contained inside the prostate doesn’t usually cause any symptoms. But some men may have some urinary problems. These may be mild and happen over many years.

"For some men the first symptoms of prostate cancer might be new pain in the back, hips or pelvis. This can be caused by cancer that’s spread to the bones.

"These symptoms are often caused by other problems such as general aches or arthritis. But it’s still a good idea to get them checked out by your GP."