Don’t let embarrassment put you off a check up which could help to save your life.
That is the message from Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst, who has revealed his ongoing battle against cancer to encourage men not to put off a visit to their doctor.
Cllr Giles-Medhurst was diagnosed with bladder cancer in October last year, just days after visiting his GP.
Now, following eight months of surgery and other treatment, he believes he is now clear of the fast-growing, grade-three cancer – although he will need regular check-ups and preventative treatment for some time.
However, he believes that if he had put off his initial visit to the GP any longer, his prognosis may not have been so good.
And now he is speaking out about his own experience to encourage other men with “worrying symptoms” not to wait too long before getting medical advice.
For Cllr Giles-Medhurst, 62, the first sign there was a problem was some blood in his urine.
He admits that “like most men” he put off going to see his GP for “some weeks”.
Within days of that first visit to the GP he had seen a consultant at St Albans Hospital – and within four weeks he had surgery at Watford to remove a 10cm tumour.
Since then he has had two further operations and had repeated treatment with TB vaccine BCG, which he has been told acts as a kind of ‘weed killer’ in the bladder.
But had he waited too long before seeking medical attention, the growth could have spread – making treatment more extensive and reducing the chances of recovery.
“It was a shock – for me and my other half,” said Cllr Giles-Medhurst, who is leader of the Lib Dems at Herts County Council. “We didn’t now how long it had been there. But it had been there for a while before having symptoms.
“My advice to other men is if you see any sign of blood in your urine go to the doctors – don’t just wait to see if it will go away. Don’t just put something off because its embarrassing.
“It may go away, but equally it may be something more serious. And if you wait it could potentially spread outside your bladder.”
He added: “If this just encourages one other person to go to their GP sooner – to get treatment and get an ‘all-clear’ – it will have a positive effect.”