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Master of ceremonies urges Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire men to get routine health check after cancer diagnosis

“Don’t put off a vital health check.”

That is the message being shared today by Matt Biggin, a professional master of ceremonies, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer after visiting an outreach bus.

As a busy master of ceremonies — and as someone who had no symptoms who didn’t feel unwell — having a PSA test wasn’t high on 58-year-old Matt’s list of priorities.

Matt Biggin and Jyoti Shah
Matt Biggin and Jyoti Shah

It was only when his partner Karen suggested they visit the prostate cancer outreach bus in Peterborough city centre that Matt decided to kick start the process.

Demand on the free drop-in service meant that Matt was not able to be seen on the day, but the team took his details and he was contacted with an appointment to have a PSA and blood test and an examination soon after.

Matt, who has hosted award ceremonies for the Newark Advertiser, said: “I didn’t think too much about it at the time, and it was something I had been meaning to do and now I had. It was only when I was told my PSA levels were high that I was booked in for an MRI and biopsy within a matter of days.”

Matt Biggin in his professional capacity hosting the Rutland & Stamford Mercury Business Awards in 2023
Matt Biggin in his professional capacity hosting the Rutland & Stamford Mercury Business Awards in 2023

He added: “I got the call to say test showed I had prostate cancer, and I don’t think it really sank in. I had to face telling my family while trying to process news of the diagnosis myself – which had all happened very quickly from visiting the bus in February.”

Matt, who lives in Peterborough, was also then faced with the anxiety of waiting for the results of a bone scan to see if the cancer had spread before a treatment plan could be put in place.

On receiving the reassuring news that the scan was negative; Matt told closer friends and is now openly sharing his story – as he currently awaits radiotherapy treatment this summer – to raise awareness of prostate cancer.

“It has been eye opening to learn how common this is, even by talking to friends – it can happen to anyone,” added Matt – who is currently undergoing hormone injections.

Matt Biggin
Matt Biggin

“My cancer has been caught early and I am dealing with things head on whilst carrying on with life as normally as I can.”

Matt, who penned a book to help brides plan their big day, is also helping to raise awareness by sharing his story on his own local radio show moremuzicradio.com– visiting Peterborough City Hospital to record an interview with North West Anglia Trust surgeon Jyoti Shah.

“My message to men is to go and get checked. Yes, there may be a little embarrassment, but the checks are really quick, easy and painless. Don’t put it off or make the excuse of being too busy,” said Matt, who is set to host the Newark Business Awards on June 14.

Macmillan consultant urological surgeon Miss Shah has spearheaded an initiative to invite men aged between 50 and 80, who have no known prostate cancer or have not had a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test within the past 12 months to come along to get tested at free community events, including the outreach bus.

Matt Biggin at the Mercury Business Awards 2023
Matt Biggin at the Mercury Business Awards 2023

Miss Shah said: “Prostate cancer is a silent killer, but it is a cancer that we can cure if we pick it up early enough.”

It is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with one in eight being diagnosed as some point in their lives – and for men from an Afro-Caribbean heritage, the risk is one in four.

“A lot of men like to bury their head in the sand when it comes to their health. They are often too busy to go to their doctor or to access the relevant services.

“But because prostate cancer often doesn’t have any symptoms – they won’t appreciate the need to go and get checked for a problem that effectively doesn’t exist. However, because there are no signs, that doesn’t mean that it’s not there.

“Matt’s story is typical of many men – and thankfully he did come to get checked, cancer was caught early, and he is now receiving treatment and is under the trust’s care.”

Matt is sharing his story ahead of Men’s Health Week, which runs from June 10 to 16 and culminates in Father’s Day on Sunday, June 16. The week shines a spotlight on the unique health concerns impacting men and aims to promote the importance of addressing and managing health issues proactively. It also encourages men to take charge of their well-being and seek medical support.

She added: “With Father’s Day and Men’s Health Week approaching, it gives us a timely reminder to reach out to the men in our lives and prompt them to think about all aspects of their health and seek advice if they feel something isn’t quite right.”

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