PSA Testing …. Why we do it!

As part of its initiative to raise awareness of prostate cancer in the UK, during 2015 Buckinghamshire Freemasons held PSA testing sessions at three of the Masonic centres in the County, (Beaconsfield, Bletchley and Slough).

Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in men in the UK, but the survivability is massively increased with early diagnosis. Indeed, the survival rate has tripled over the last 40 years, no doubt due, in many cases, to PSA testing.

The initiative started by the PGM of Buckinghamshire, Gordon Robertson, allows for any Mason in the Province to bring a friend along and for both to be tested at no charge. During the year approximately 10% of those tested have shown elevated test results and have been referred to their GPs for further investigation. Two out of three men with a raised PSA level will not have prostate cancer detected in a biopsy and, of those referred, many have been given a clean bill of health; but some have been found to be at various stages of the disease and have received prompt and appropriate treatment as a direct result of this early/unexpected diagnosis.

One of those with a raised PSA result has been Tony Dyckes. A member of Hall Barn Lodge 8480, Tony is known to many in Buckinghamshire because of his work with Freemasons in the Community, including the Gardens at Railway Stations initiative. He was admitted to hospital in early December for further exploratory tests.

As part of the treatment the APGM of Buckinghamshire, Peter Moody, along with the ‘Teddies for Loving Care’ (TLC) programme organiser, Mel Shah, decided that it was an ideal opportunity to bring these two wonderful initiatives together and, knowing what a great sense of humour Tony possesses, they presented him with a friend to keep him company during his stay in hospital.

Tony was, of course, delighted and since laughter has always been promoted as the best medicine, he giggled all the way to the treatment room. We all wish him well with his diagnosis and treatment.

Started in 2001, Teddies for Loving Care, has distributed over 1 million teddy bears to children’s A&E departments across the UK. Not only do the teddy bears comfort and calm the children, they really do make the nursing staff’s job somewhat easier in appraising and befriending the often distraught little ones. Not every child receives a teddy, but those that do, get to keep it and take it home.

Peter said; “It was wonderful to see Tony and the immediate lifting of the mood that occurred when we presented him with his new friend. Let us hope that both he and all those others who have been diagnosed with raised counts or with this dreadful disease are back up and about very soon and continue to lead long and active lives. Both of these initiatives, PSA Testing and TLC, are very important to us in Buckinghamshire Freemasonry and we would like to ensure they continue throughout the County for as long as they are needed. We intend to have more PSA testing sessions at various locations in the Province and would encourage all of our members to bring along a friend and get tested.”

Tony added: “Without this test it may have been a long time before my condition was spotted. Although I am still awaiting the results of the biopsy, I must thank Gordon Robertson and all Buckinghamshire Freemasons for this initiative and urge everyone to take up the opportunity of being checked as soon, and as regularly, as possible.”