Our first Free Prostate Cancer Check evening considered a great success  


Promoting the event: 'getreading'...                   Press release - post event. More... 

We invited men over the age of 50 to come for a free Prostate Cancer check and were amazed at the response with more than 480 joining us at the Royal Berks Hospital. There is no national screening programme for the disease and we are advised that the test is not normally available on the NHS unless symptoms are displayed. That is why the Lions Club of Reading hosted the prostate cancer awareness evening, the first we believe in the Reading area.  Our aim being to make the local community aware of the disease and to offer the free prostate screening tests.

In 4 hours, nearly 500 men had blood taken for PSA analysis. The Lions Club of Reading definitely intends this event to become an annual occurrence.


Registration & Signing In Crowds listening to Mr David Baxter-Smith              Blood Test

Steve Allen, Chairman of the Reading Prostate Cancer Support Group said: "I was staggered by the organisation and the number of volunteers involved.  If we, as a small support group had tried to take on such a project, we would have been overwhelmed by the public response."

Peter Boardley from Emmer Green and Chris Hicks from Pangbourne made the decision to attend the event. Peter commented, "On the evening, the Lions had a machine that worked with military precision - car park attendants, reception staff, patient data forms and even an ample supply of pens to fill in the forms.  You name it, they had thought of it. The free use of the large staff car park was a bonus - how often can you now park at a hospital for free?!"

Chris Hicks said, "It was something I had been planning to do for a few years but never found the time. The Lions Cancer Check was so well organised and the volunteers so friendly and efficient that it was effortless for me. Well done."

John Mack, Past President of the Lions Club of Reading, current Lions Regional Chairman and Project Manager for the prostate cancer event said, "We hadn't a clue whether 20 or 200 would turn up.  We never dreamed that so many would come. However, the whole team rose to the challenge, particularly the phlebotomy team; even Steve Allen was drafted in to help take bloods in the latter half of the evening. As well as being Chairman of the local prostate cancer support group, he is also a recently retired Consultant Anaesthetist at the Royal Berks Hospital.  

John Continued, "The Lions Club of Reading undertook to underwrite the total costs of the free screening and we hope to do so every year, although this will require support from the community. We are very pleased to have received 1,000.00 from individual business sponsors and 1,646 in donations on the night. I'm very grateful to the combined effort from many volunteers, including a League of Friends volunteer who managed the tea bar throughout the evening and waited to the end for his blood test".

Mr. David Baxter-Smith (retired consultant urologist) has been involved in many prostate screening events with Lions Clubs; he agreed to oversee the reporting of results to patients with the standard red/amber/green letter system.  He will also follow up all patients with abnormal test results to ensure they seek appropriate treatment locally.  On the night, he gave a talk every 30 minutes to the waiting crowd.  He explained, "In a sample of 500 men, approximately 10% of the results will be abnormal. Of those 50 men, 75% will be called back (i.e. 37). Between 50 to 60% of those will need life saving treatment so approximately 20 lives are saved in every 500 men".

There is little doubt that the evening in Reading will pick up some patients with Prostate Cancer that can then get earlier treatment.  Equally, it will also reassure the majority of men that they have nothing to worry about.

Many would say that it is little short of a scandal that there is no national PSA screening programme.  Even worse, patients are still being advised against testing by ill-informed GPs - often in younger patients in their 50's.  Steve Allen asks, "When will people realise that the earlier an aggressive Prostate Cancer is found then the better it can be treated? PSA screening done in an appropriate way is not scare-mongering; it is just plain common sense".

If you can help with sponsorship for a future event please see our sponsorship pages or click here for a sponsorship form.  


Lions Club of Reading registered charity no: 1126848