A Banbury businessman is celebrating almost a year of being clear of prostate cancer and is urging all men to take the simple blood test that saved his life.
Peter Babbage, 59, managing director of PFC Brakes on the Wildmere Industrial Estate, had taken a PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test three years ago, as part of a regular health check through his employer, which came back well within the normal range.
A year later Peter, an avid cyclist, decided to have another blood test for PSA as a precautionary measure. This test indicated slightly raised levels so he was referred to a specialist who told him that his love of distance cycling could be the reason for the results.
After a week banished from his beloved bike Peter was retested and the results were once again well within the normal range.
At the beginning of 2016 a close friend of Peter’s, ten years his senior, was diagnosed with aggressive, advanced prostate cancer but after two consecutive all clears and no signs of any illness, Peter was reluctant to have yet another test.
Peter said: “I had no symptoms, I was extremely fit as I was doing a lot of cycling then. My friend’s diagnosis made my wife say to me, ‘You ought to go and have another test’ but I said ‘I only had it a year ago and they told me everything was fine, I don’t need another test’.
“My wife pleaded with me to go and have another test, it’s only five minutes at the doctors, so I went back.”
In the space of just 12 months and with not a single symptom, Peter’s PSA level had gone from a low and normal 3.2 to a very high 8.8 which immediately set alarms bells ringing.
He was sent for a biopsy and an MRI scan. Peter said: “The MRI confirmed there were tumours within the prostate and the biopsy confirmed that both tumours were malignant. It was classed as advanced and aggressive prostate cancer.”
Peter’s treatment was swift and the prostate was removed. Had it not been caught when it was, Peter’s cancer was just weeks away from spreading throughout his body.
Now, 10 months on, Peter is using his love of cycling to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK and more importantly raise awareness of the condition.
On June 24 Peter and 88 other Prostate Cancer UK charity riders will take part in the 127-mile Grand Depart, the opening stage of the Tour De France , this year starting in Düsseldorf Germany.
Peter said: “Part of what we’re doing in raising this money is to be able to do further tests to find more effective, easier, quicker and cheaper ways of testing people. The tests need to be more accurate, more reliable, quicker and easier.”
He added: “You can have a problem but show no symptoms, that’s the worrying thing.”
To sponsor Peter visit his JustGiving page.