Mental Health Awareness: 'You need to avoid the dark place' says man with terminal prostate cancer

  • Tony Collier spoke to Lucy Meacock in an extended interview about resilience

A man diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer says he tries to avoid "the dark place" and "focus on the positive things in life".

Tony Collier, from Altrincham, was told he had incurable prostate cancer in 2017. His initial prognosis was that he had at worst two years to live.

Six years later, Tony's cancer is stable. He has cited his resilience as part of his new outlook on life.

Tony Collier spent 365 days doing the 5k Your Way park run to raise money for the charity Move Against Cancer. Credit: ITV Granada

Tony said: "I think the impact of the diagnoses was horrendous. I think you do go into this dark hole. I spent the first 18 months thinking way too much about dying and not enough about living.

"That lead me to having a breakdown. My sister was admitted to a hospice for end of life care for breast cancer.

"I think that was ultimately the best thing that could have happened to me. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness."

Tony sought counselling from the Neil Cliffe centre at Wythenshawe Hospital. He found this helped him focus more on living and not on dying.

  • An abridged version of Tony Collier's interview

His relationship with his wife has also been key to his mental health.

Tony said: "I've been blessed by an amazing wife. I got a telephone call telling me I had prostate cancer. I had to drive home in floods of tears.

"The first thing I told my wife was to tell her to find someone else because I wasn't going to be there to look after her."

In 2022, he spent 365 days doing the 5k Your Way park run to raise money for the charity Move Against Cancer, which uses exercise to improve the lives of people with cancer.

  • Granada Reports spoke to Tony Collier about his #MoveWithTony campaign

Tony also created the hashtag #MoveWithTony on social media to encourage people around the world to do their own version of the 5k.

He said: "I don't think I realised how strong I was immediately. I've become much stronger. I still have bad days, it's not all a bed of roses."

When asked what advice he would give to people struggling with a terminal illness diagnosis, Tony said, "just think on the positive side. It's not going to cure cancer but it will help you live a better life.

"Focus on the good things in life and try not to focus on the negative things.

"You need to try and avoid the dark place. If you're going through any form of adversity in life, just pull on that strength, that resilience.

"Because somewhere deep down there is that strength that we can call on when we need it most."


  • CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably, runs a free and confidential helpline and webchat. It also supports those bereaved by suicide, through the Support After Suicide Partnership (SASP)Call 0800 585858 (daily, 5pm to midnight).

  • Mind is a mental health charity which promotes the views and needs of people with mental health issues. It provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem, and campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. Call 0300 123 3393 or email

  • Samaritans is an organisation offering confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Phone 116 123 (a free 24 hour helpline) or email

  • YoungMinds is a resource with information on child and adolescent mental health, but also offers services for parents and professionals. It is the UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people's mental health, and wants to make sure all young people can get the mental health support they need when they need it. Visit

  • Shout is a 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone struggling to cope and in need of immediate help. Text SHOUT to 85258.

  • SOS Silence of Suicide provides a listening service for children and adults who need emotional support, understanding, compassion & kindness. Phone 0300 102 0505

Symptoms of prostate cancer according to the NHS

Prostate cancer

The NHS website says prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs for many years.

Symptoms of prostate cancer do not usually appear until the prostate is large enough to affect the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis (urethra).

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What symptoms may be associated with prostate cancer?

  • needing to pee more frequently, often during the night

  • needing to rush to the toilet

  • difficulty in starting to pee (hesitancy)

  • straining or taking a long time while peeing

  • weak flow

  • feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully

  • blood in urine or in semen

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Are these the only symptoms of prostate cancer?

The NHS website says that these symptoms do not always mean you have prostate cancer. Many men's prostates get larger as they get older because of a non-cancerous condition called benign prostate enlargement.

Signs that the cancer may have spread include bone and back pain, a loss of appetite, pain in the testicles and unintentional weight loss.

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What are the causes of prostate cancer?

The NHS says it's not known exactly what causes prostate cancer, although a number of things can increase your risk of developing the condition.

These include:

  • Age – the risk rises as you get older, and most cases are diagnosed in men over 50 years of age

  • Ethnic group – prostate cancer is more common in black men than in Asian men

  • Family history – having a brother or father who developed prostate cancer before age 60 seems to increase your risk of developing it; research also shows that having a close female relative who developed breast cancer may also increase your risk of developing prostate cancer

  • Obesity – recent research suggests there may be a link between obesity and prostate cancer, and a balanced diet and regular exercise may lower your risk of developing prostate cancer

  • Diet – research is ongoing into the links between diet and prostate cancer, and there is some evidence that a diet high in calcium is linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer

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What you should do if you're worried about prostate cancer

If you have symptoms that could be caused by prostate cancer, you should visit a GP.

There's no single, definitive test for prostate cancer. The GP will discuss the pros and cons of the various tests with you to try to avoid unnecessary anxiety.

The GP is likely to:

  • ask for a urine sample to check for infection

  • take a blood sample to test your level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) – called PSA testing

  • examine your prostate by inserting a gloved finger into your bottom – called digital rectal examination

The GP will assess your risk of having prostate cancer based on a number of factors, including your PSA levels and the results of your prostate examination, as well as your age, family history and ethnic group.

If you're at risk, you should be referred to hospital to discuss the options of further tests.

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