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Committee of Volunteers Champion Prostate Cancer Screening

23 August 2023

A group of South Essex Volunteers is organising a FREE Prostate Cancer Screening and Men’s Health Awareness Day at Club Kingswood, Basildon on Thursday 19th October.
 
With CHAPS Charity, the event aims to offer men aged between 40-80 the opportunity to join a prostate cancer screening programme.
 
PSA is a protein produced by both cancerous and non-cancerous tissue in the prostate and can be an early sign of cancer. The screening, which is just a simple blood test, allows men to be alerted at an early stage which gives men the best chance of cure and a full recovery.
 
CHAPS has been running prostate screening events since 2012.  It was founded in 2000 by Professor Chris Booth, a retired Consultant Urologist. The charity advocates good men’s health for all and the early detection of prostate cancer, which at present has no national screening programme.
 
Lynda Curtin who is the new President of the South Essex Committee said: “I was introduced to CHAPS via Gen Isikgun who was already on the committee, I was her teacher for a charity dance event for our local St Luke’s Hospice.
 
My husband went on to attend the 2019 event at Club Kingswood, where he was found to have a cancerous melanoma on his ankle and a high PSA result. This turned out to be prostate cancer at stage 2 with a Gleason score of 7 out of 10, but he had no symptoms. Thanks to CHAPS this was detected, and he was able to have treatment.”

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She added: “Chris Booth was very supportive, and I asked him how I could help in some small way to assist CHAPS further and this is how I became involved with the committee and thoroughly enjoy the work that we do together. I do know of other men that have attended our events and have had early detection, without any symptoms too. The work of the charity is so important to raise awareness of prostate cancer.
 
The event is most timely due to the EastEnders current storyline and both my husband, and I felt very much for Alfie Moon as we remember the first time we received my husband’s diagnosis. Hopefully this program will inspire other men to get tested, together with other high profile TV personalities confirming they have prostate cancer, Nick Owen and Andy Taylor from pop group Duran Duran to name a few.
 
At our last event in February, I was surprised that when we asked, “how did you hear about this event” some said that they had looked it up online due to publicity in the press.”
 
Chris Booth, Clinical Director at CHAPS said: “Back In 2012 we staged our first Men’s Health Day at the Colchester United Stadium. This is where I met Alan Osborn, now Past President of the South Essex Committee. At this event we were also offering AAA screening. He was the first man we ever scanned. The Consultant told Alan he had an aneurysm around 11cm diameter which is very large and would almost undoubtedly have burst before he would have been eligible for the NHS AAA programme which starts at 65; Alan was 62. Burst aneurysms have an 80% mortality! Alan’s aneurysm was repaired by keyhole surgery within 3 weeks, and he was in and out of hospital in 36 hours!
 
This event saved Alan’s life and he wanted to help the charity in any way he could. He helped to promote CHAPS events regularly on BBC Essex and supported events in Southend and Chelmsford over the next few years. He then introduced me to The Business Association, from which the South Essex Committee was formed, with Alan Osborn as the Chair. The first event was staged at Langdon Hills Golf Club in 2017, then in 2018 and Club Kingswood in 2019. Apart from the pandemic lockdowns, these events take place every year now in three locations in South Essex.”
 
He added: “I am most grateful to the whole committee for their fundraising endeavours and their support for the charity. Without them numerous men may have lost their lives unnecessarily to prostate cancer.”
               
The South Essex Committee is made up of 8 volunteers: Lynda Curtin, Gen Isikgun, Alex Owen, Ann Quinn, Garry Tapsell, Paul Havis, Alan Osborn and Tina Lincoln. They are also aided by numerous volunteers at their events.
 
Ann Quinn, Committee Member, works for West & Coe Funeral Directors. She said: “Alan Osborn introduced me to CHAPS and this is where my story with the charity began – Alan was instrumental with Chris in setting up the Southeast chapter of CHAPS and on listening to Alan’s good news story and how CHAPS helped save his life, West & Coe decided to donate funds from our annual golf day to the charity. I am delighted now to be involved with the events and whole heartedly recommend any man between the ages of 40-80 to come along and get tested.”
 
Gen Isikgun, the McDonald’s Franchisee in Basildon, has been supporting the events both financially and through her work with the committee since its conception. She said: “I am very proud of our achievements over the years and how well we all work together to get the job done. At the end of the day, it’s about saving lives.”
 
“Mar Dyke Valley Rotary Club have been supporting CHAPS  financially & supportively and this is where I first met Chris Booth.” Said Paul Havis, South Essex Committee Member. “I would urge men to come forward and take up the free test as prostate cancer can be so successfully treated with early detection.”


“The basic facts are well known. PCa is now the UK’s commonest major cancer and second commonest cause of male cancer deaths, causing up to 52,000 new cases and 12,000 deaths annually with numbers continuing to increase.” Said Chris Booth. “Furthermore, almost 50% of new cases present with advanced disease so it is hardly surprising that the UK has one of the worst PCa mortality rates among our western neighbours. Lung cancer is our commonest male cancer killer with national screening about to start but if current trends continue, PCa deaths will soon take top spot. Screening is crucial and something we will continue to champion until a national screening programme is firmly put in place.”
The Men’s Free Health Day takes place on Thursday 19th October at Club Kingswood, Basildon. In addition to Prostate Cancer Screening there will also be free Skin Cancer Checks, NHS Health Checks and a Sport Injury Advisor.
For more information and to book the Free PSA Test:
please log onto www.chaps.uk.com./events
 
-ends-
 
Photos Show: The South Essex Committee
 

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