Prostates & Mountains

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Prostates & Mountains

Roger Plail

Consultant Urologist and part time mountaineer.

Roger addressed the Bexhill Rotary Club at their ladies night on 31st January which occurs whenever their is a fifth Tuesday in the month. Roger was introduced by Rotarian John Lewis one of the clubs oldest member who demonstrated just how an introduction should be done. The dining tables all had information leaflets on “The Prostate Cancer Support Association” titled “Women Don’t Get Prostate Cancer” which clarified why such a talk should be targeted at an evening with ladies, all the questions being directed to the wife or partner on their husband’s urinary habits.

Rogers talk which was technical and detailed was delivered with humour and got the point across very clearly. He said he was “internally” grateful to be invited to address such a group as it was a know fact that it was Dover for the Continent and Bexhill for the incontinent and prostate enlargement was a significant problem with the elder male population. Roger’s description of the prostate was a ring doughnut with a narrow hole through the middle for a flow of urine. From his slides he made it clear that if the prostate became enlarged it would obstruct the flow and need a rebore. He outlined the range of treatments that are now available included Hormonal Therapy, Radio Therapy, Bachytherapy and Cryotherapy. At this point he talked about the insertion of liquid nitrogen and this resulted in a number of the audience cringing. Encouragingly he said that one in five cases are benign and there is always a good chance that the malignant cases can be successfully treated. He also outlined the role of the various charities which he is dedicated to supporting but expressed his disappointment that there was not more merging of the charities giving them greater clout and ability to apply political pressure. It was also acknowledged that funding did not always follow the most needy causes, often driven by media panic.

He clarified that blanket screening (PSA testing) was impractical due to the incidents of false negatives but anyone with any of the classic symptoms of urinary problems should immediately contact their doctor. He outlined the work of the Support Association and went on to describe the fund raising activities they have carried out. These included two climes of the 6000m summit of Kilimanjaro which raised £300,000 in successive years and a Hadrian Wall walk which raised a further £250,000. He took the club through each day of the first Kilimanjaro clime which was by fourteen prostate patients and physicians accompanied by 40 porters climbing about 300 metres each day with the final push being 500 metres which started at midnight, the peak being reached at about 6.00 am in the morning. Rogers pictures of his team at various camps were spectacular. Hazards included frost bite and becoming confused with altitude sickness. At the summit he even came across an Australian climber who took all his cloths of, this could be the highest recorded case of Cryotherapy treatment!

Rotarian Frank Field Chairman of the Community Services committee proposed the vote of thanks stating that it was the club’s intention to give financial support to the charity in the current Rotary year.

Without considerable medial knowledge I would say any report on prostate cancer needs a health check to avoid one being taken to court !!!

John Lepine Wilson