Cornwall man diagnosed with prostate cancer despite having no symptoms

Barry Campbell tells ITV News' Sam Blackledge about his unexpected diagnosis.

A man from St Austell who was diagnosed with prostate cancer - despite having no symptoms - says he may not be alive if he had not got checked out.

Barry Campbell went to see his GP after friends and family were affected by the illness - and says a new screening trial could transform the way men's health is treated in future.

"A former colleague had been badgering me for about 10 years, because he had it," Barry said. "During any conversation we had, he would drop it in at the end - 'Have you had your check yet? Have you had your check yet?'

"(I said) no, I've got no symptoms, I don't need a check, thanks very much. But then last year he phoned me just before Christmas, we had a similar conversation, and then over the Christmas period my wife's step-father had an enlarged prostate.

"He had a minor operation to repair that. Then as a result of that, I was at the doctor in January and I thought 'oh, I'll just ask'.

Barry says early checks can save lives. Credit: ITV News

Barry was given a PSA test, and diagnosed with stage three prostate cancer. He had an operation to have his prostate removed, which was successful, and is now recovering well.

"Had I not got checked, where would I be now? Would I be a stage further, stage four cancer? At stage four, you've still got survival rates, but they're a lot lower. I might not be here, I don't know."

In the UK, 12,000 men die from the disease each year - and 16.8% of men diagnosed in the West Country will find out too late.

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There is currently no screening programme for prostate cancer in the UK. But that could all be about to change because of a new trial.

The screening trial will begin next year, with patients recruited from all around the country. Barry says he is now one of those pestering others to get checked out.

"I'm boring about it really," he said. "Everybody I speak to, especially around my age group, friends, people I bump into even. I'll drop it into conversation."

There is currently no screening process for prostate cancer in the UK. Credit: ITV News

Dr Matthew Hobbs, director of research for Prostate Cancer UK, said: "Many prostate cancers, especially when they are in the early stages at the stage where we can cure them if we find them, don't have any symptoms.

"It's really important that men don't wait for symptoms before they go to talk to their GP about prostate cancer. It's also the reason it's really important we get to a screening process, where men would be automatically called on a regular basis, just like women are with breast cancer screening."