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Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



The chance remark that may just have saved Brian's life


Mary Magee reports

A WELL KNOWN Lisburn businessman has told how a simple blood test helped save his life when it showed he had prostate cancer.

Brian Brown, Managing Director of Browns Coachworks and a member of the board of Action Cancer, is backing the charity's Action Man campaign which encourages men to take responsibility for their own health.

Brian (60) was diagnosed with the condition three years ago after a flippant remark.

The grandfather-of-one from Hillsborough had been out with friends when one told him that sesame seeds were good for your prostate.

Unsure of where his prostate was exactly, the comment stuck with Brian and when he visited his doctor about a problem with his knee he mentioned it to her.

She asked him a few simple questions and even though he answered no to everything she advised him to have a blood test anyway.

As the nurse was busy and Brian was convinced he did not have any symptoms he put put the test off for another day.

A week later he was in the health centre collecting a prescription and as the nurse was not busy he got a blood test.

A few days later the doctor rang with the results and told him his PSA was high and he would have to see a consultant.

After a meeting with at Belfast City Hospital he had a biopsy and told h, had cancer.

"My whole life just seemed to stop. Brian said. "To be told something like that was just devastating. My wife was with me and we were both the same. My immediate reaction was just how long I had left."

Luckily for Brian the cancer was found early, it was operable and curable. He had an MRI scan to see if the cancer had spread.

"I was told if I hadn't got that test for another six or seven years their advice would have been to get a good solicitor and go on a good holiday," he said. "I knew just how lucky I was"

After an operation to remove his prostate Brian underwent a course of radiotherapy and was off work for three months. Though clear now for three years he still undergoes check ups every six months.

Brian says he was lucky his cancer was detected so early and has urged men over the age of 50 to have the PSA blood test done. His experience has even helped his best friend who was diagnosed with prostate cancer after having a blood test.

"All it is is a simple blood test" Brian said. "I would have considered myself fit and healthy, went to the doctor regularly and did not have any symptoms yet I had it.

"When your health is at risk it makes you more appreciative of life. If my story saves just one life then it is worth it."

Ulster Star