Portsmouth FC fan says club 'saved my life' after prostate cancer test

A LIFELONG Pompey fan diasgnosed with prostate cancer just days after taking a blood test at Fratton Park has said: ‘The club has saved my life.’

Friday, 19th July 2019, 6:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 10:33 am
Pompey fan Mick Turnbull would like to thannk Portsmouth FC and the Barry Kilby Prostate Cancer Appeal for the test he had at Fratton Park which could potentially save his life. Mr Turnbull is pictured outside the ground. Picture: Chris Moorhouse . (210719-67)

Grandfather-of-fourteen Mick Turnbull was one of more than 200 men who were tested at the ground.

Just 10 days after having the check done Mick received an urgent note to see his GP, leading to a hospital referral and diagnosis confirmation.

The 61-year-old said: ‘The club has saved my life.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

‘I saw the test advertised at Fratton Park back in March and thought I had better go.

‘If I am honest I probably would not have booked an appointment with the doctor but this was a quick and easy way to do it.’

Mick went to visit his GP at Gudge Heath Lane surgery in Fareham and then attended hospital appointments at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.

He said: ‘After a few more tests and scans they told me I had prostate cancer. Naturally my family were, like me, devastated when I told them all but they’ve come to terms with it now and they’re all very supportive.

‘I had to tell my brother Paul through tears but he got tested and he is fine thank goodness. 

‘But I am lucky that they have caught it so early and it has remained in my prostate so everyone at the hospital is positive. 

‘I have a colleague whose prostate cancer has spread into his bones and it shows you how it can affect anyone.

‘I only had the symptom of going to the toilet quite often but I am diabetic so I just put it down to that.’ The test, which was organised by the Barry Kilby Prostate Cancer Appeal and run by Burnley football legend Mr Kilby, measures the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. A raised PSA level can indicate prostate cancer but may also be a sign of other conditions including a urinary infection.

Pompey chief executive Mark Caitlin, who was also tested, spoke to Mick when Pompey were out training in Dublin earlier this month.

Mark said: ‘Mick came up to me in Ireland and told me that we had saved his life thanks to the test.

‘It was truly humbling to hear that our team had made a difference to someone’s life and it is the best thing I have done in football.

‘Luckily my test was okay but it is so important to get tested because early detection means survival rates go up massively. Barry has always stressed this to me and to get tested but like a typical bloke I have avoided it. I didn’t realise it was a simple blood test and it can save lives.’

Now Mick wants to raise awareness of the screening and encourage his fellow Blues fans to get tested.

He said: ‘I think the Barry Kilby Appeal is fantastic and there should be a mobile unit outside all football grounds to catch the footfall of fans.

‘The NHS provides tests for women but I think men need to get regular tests as well. Having units by football grounds and pubs would make it easy for us to get tested quickly.

‘I think there is the other problem of men thinking a prostate cancer test can be uncomfortable but the blood test is so quick and it can really save your life.’ 


Why a blood test for prostate cancer was carried out at Fratton Park 

Since 2014, the Barry Kilby Prostate Cancer Appeal has been carrying out prostate cancer testing days at football grounds to help save men’s lives. It was set Burnley football legend Barry Kilby after he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2011.

Of the 210 men who were tested in March at Fratton Park, 13 had high levels of Prostate Specific Antigen and eight had slightly raised levels.

A spokeswoman for the Barry Kilby Prostate Cancer Appeal said: ‘We run PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood testing days at sporting clubs around the UK.

‘Barry Kilby is the ex-chairman and now vice chairman of premier league Football team Burnley FC, who was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer a few years ago and is currently living with the disease. We have currently tested over 4,500 men so far and are continuing to run our testing events at local sporting venues.

‘On average, 10 per cent of the men we test (we normally test around 350 men each event) will receive a Red result which means their PSA level is extremely high and have gone on to be referred to their GP and specialists to be treated for Prostate Cancer. Some of these men are as young as 51.

‘This cancer is curable if it is caught early and there is no national screening for this yet which makes the work we are doing, lifesaving.’

The appeal team fundraise to cover the costs of the test days which can reach up to the amount of £7,000.