The fourth and final session of the Provincial Prostate Cancer Screening programme running in Nottinghamshire was accomplished at Worksop Masonic Hall on 27th June 2019
The Head of the Urology Department at Burton on Trent Hospital, Miss Jyoti Shah, and her team undertook the testing ably supported by Nottinghamshire’s Provincial Almoners, namely: Urban Burrows, Provincial Grand Almoner, Keith Hollingworth, David Snowden, Ron Nuthall and Paul Freeman.
The idea for a Nottinghamshire testing programme was born early in 2017 when Urban, on a visit to London, heard that a Province was considering Prostate Cancer Screening for its members. Picking up on their initiative, he made enquiries, subsequent to which the Graham Fulford Trust was contacted. The Trust, on payment of a fixed fee per examination, would carry out a PSA blood test; however, the team had discovered information indicating that a blood test was not 100% conclusive. Further enquiries identified that Jyoti and her team performed the same blood test plus an internal examination of the prostate gland – a far more dependable check.
As Jyoti was in the process of planning a Prostate Cancer Screening Campaign for the Province of Derbyshire (as part of her remit for a Nationwide Screening Service) the Derbyshire Almoner, George Frost, was contacted and the Nottinghamshire Almoner’s team were invited to attend sessions at Derby and Burton. After discussion, Urban and the team realised that it was a feasible scheme for Nottinghamshire, so a proposal was put to their Provincial Grand Master Philip Marshall who immediately embraced the proposal and gave the team the go-ahead.
A fundraising campaign was launched to cover the cost of the examinations, such was the reaction that not only were the cost of 400 examinations covered (the original number of requests from members wishing to undertake the test), but also sufficient funds to make a donation to Jyoti’s Prostate Cancer Research Programme and to both the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Branches of Blood Bikes who would support the programme.
The four two-day screening sessions took place in Masonic centres across the Province: West Bridgford; Nottingham; Mansfield; and finally Worksop. In order to allow Jyoti to concentrate on the medical aspects of the sessions, the Almoners’ team, supported by two of very willing helpers, undertook all the planning. This approach maximised the number of examinations performed per session, more in fact than the original expectations. All the Masonic centres and their staff kindly made for rooms available to provide refreshments free of charge.
Of the 400 Freemasons examined, 10% have had a follow-up examination, of which four individuals have started treatment. Four lives have been saved, which is a massive outcome for the campaign.
Grateful thanks for their donations the overall Campaign fund go to the Provincial Charity Committee, Lodges, Other Orders and Units, local Regalia Stores, together with a number of individuals. Furthermore, the Hall Companies for the use of their facilities and of course, the 400 examinees for their generosity.
The Province’s success has been proven and their knowledge will be shared – three other Provinces have already asked the Nottinghamshire Almoners’ team to give them guidance on how to effect a similar campaign. Because of this Campaign, the Province of Nottinghamshire hope that more individuals have been made aware of this disease, its symptoms and what to do. Jyoti also expressed her hope that more men will be happy to talk openly about Prostate Cancer to their spouses and other men.