Prostate cancer sufferer Noel Gibson hails latest drug breakthrough
A Belfast man diagnosed with prostate cancer six months ago has described a new type of drug that could benefit those with an aggressive form of the disease as a "positive step".
His comments came after experts from the Institute of Cancer Research in London described results of a study as an "exciting discovery" in treating drug-resistant cancers.
The drug-type - Hsp90 inhibitors - are already in clinical trials for cancers of the breast, lung and blood.
It appears to show promise as a way of treating the most stubborn and aggressive cases of prostate cancer which have started to spread.
The study, published in the journal Cancer Research and mainly funded by the Wellcome Trust, gives new hope to those battling the most common type of cancer in men in the UK.
Almost 8,500 here are living with prostate cancer, with three new cases diagnosed every day.
Around 250 die each year.
Noel Gibson, an accountant from the city, was diagnosed last November.
He said: "This is brilliant news as the more treatment available the better.
"There is more and more research being done, and it is not just for prostate cancer.
"There seems to be more and more good news every day."
The 51-year-old explained how he discovered he had prostate cancer only after his doctor ran some general tests.
"Back in June 2015 during a routine cholesterol test my GP decided to give me an 'MOT'," he said.
"I soon found out that all was well, except that I had a raised PSA (prostate specific antigen) level in my blood.
"Numerous blood tests, consultations and scans followed, and finally a biopsy was done in November 2015.
"I found out that I do have prostate cancer on November 19, 2015.
"But I am lucky, my cancer is not advanced and my consultant has placed me on a programme of active surveillance, meaning that I will just have regular check-ups at the moment.
"Every nurse, doctor and consultant I have seen have been angels - every one of them."
Noel, who completed an eight-mile Belfast City Marathon walk for Cancer Focus NI yesterday, raising more than £750, said it was important men sought help for the disease as soon as possible.
"The earlier it is caught the greater the chance of any drug working, that is what my consultant told me," he said.
"But I owe it all to my GP. I had no signs at all, and if it wasn't for him I still wouldn't know that I had it.
"All this new research is great, especially for anyone who is very far advanced as well.
"It gives them new hope as there are more drugs available if they are needed."
Noel urged local men to get checked out by their doctor.
He added that raising awareness was vitally important as one man in the UK died every hour from cancer of the prostate gland.
A recent poll by Prostate Cancer UK showed more than 90% of males here had no idea what the prostate did, and had a high level of ignorance when it came to prostate cancer.
The prostate, part of the male reproductive system, is the size and shape of a walnut and grows bigger as men age.
It sits under the bladder and surrounds the urethra.
- For more information visit prostatecanceruk.org