Cancer course tutor saves own life by recognising deadly symptoms

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A TUTOR led dozens of people on a course all about cancer – and then realised he had the symptoms himself.

And when Jim Currie was checked out, doctors confirmed the devastating news he had prostate cancer.

But six months after having his prostate removed the 52-year-old is confident he has won the war against the nightmare condition.

Shotton IT Centre manager Jim said: “Without a doubt, being involved in teaching the course saved my life. I would have been a typical bloke and not bothered getting checked out otherwise.”

Now Jim is planning a sponsored skydive to raise money for the Prostate Cancer UK charity to say thanks for their support.

Jim, from Forth Close in Peterlee, was asked to be an NHS “cancer champion” and trained to recognise symptoms to help early diagnosis and passed that knowledge on to 50 other adults at the IT centre, in Friar Street, Shotton Colliery.

But around the same time he realised he had been suffering from “every one” of the symptoms, including blood in his urine and getting up around six times a night to go to the toilet.

It spurred him on to visit his GP and blood tests showed he had a high prostate specific antigen (PSA) count and was referred to a consultant.

After further tests, medics at James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, confirmed Jim had prostate cancer last October.

Jim, married to Carol, 48, said: “In a strange way, I was relieved to have confirmation. But it was pretty emotional, and the drive home from James Cook was a very long drive.”

Jim and Carol discussed the options, and after some agonising, he chose to have an operation to remove his prostate, which took place last November. Although the side effects can include erectile dysfunction, Jim is undergoing treatment to help.

Jim, a former intelligence and operations sergeant with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, said: “I would urge anyone who has these symptoms to see their GP and get checked out. It may be uncomfortable, but it can save your life.”

Jim, dad to Robert, 22, and grandad to Matthew, two, had a blood test in January showing his PSA at the lowest it can be.

He will be able to say in November whether his treatment has been a success and whether he is in remission.

Jim and Carol received “fantastic” help from Prostate Cancer UK, who provided an over-the-phone counsellor who had been through the same ordeal.

Now Jim, who says he is “very optimistic for the future, this cancer is beaten, there’s no doubt about it”, is preparing to do a sponsored skydive at Shotton Airfield to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK on August 10.

To sponsor him, visit www.justgiving.com/Jim-Currie.

For help, visit prostatecanceruk.org