Five Valleys cycle

Former Wales Commonwealth Games team captain John Pritchard was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 2013. Having undergone treatment at Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend, the 66-year-old now has his sights firmly on raising awareness of the disease, by helping to organise the Prostate Cancer Five Valleys cycle race on the 31st of August.

Johns’ cycling career started at the age of 15 and saw him compete in four Commonwealth Games for Wales from 1970 – 1982, captaining the Wales team in Brisbane in 1982. He went on to win three gold medals in the World Masters Games in Toronto, Brisbane and Edmonton.

Speaking of the Prostate Cancer Five Valleys cycle ride, the former British national champion said,

“In February 2013 I attended my GP and I mentioned to him the fact that I needed to get up from bed several times during the night to go to the toilet.

“My GP did a PSA test then referred me to my local hospital that also did a PSA test and I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which was a huge shock. As an athlete I had always taken care of myself and been very healthy.

“It was decided that I have my prostate removed as subsequent tests showed my cancer was contained within my prostate. The operation was a success so I then concentrated getting my strength back as I was eager to resume riding my bike.

“My consultant was Mr Andrew Thomas who told me a little about the Prostate Cymru charity. I got together with one of the charity’s major fundraisers, Mr Ray Giles, the former Welsh international rugby player who had also started cycling.

“Between the two of us it was decided to hold a trial ride in June 2013 inviting cycling club members from all the cycling clubs situated within the valleys which the route covered.

“The ride was a huge success with £3500 being raised from sponsorship gained by the riders. This year’s ride will be held on the 31st August and we have Olympic and World champion Nicole Cooke starting the race and also agreeing to ride along with a group, which should be great fun.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in Wales and over 550 men in Wales will die from the disease every year. The risk of getting the disease as a men in Wales is 1 in 8 while if you have a brother of father with (or had) prostate cancer your risk increases to 1 in 3. Afro-Caribbean men in Wales have a 1 in 4 risk of developing prostate cancer.

There are many treatment options for prostate cancer, but the best results are obtained when the cancer is detected early.

Andrew Thomas Chairman of Prostate Cymru said:

“The cause of prostate cancer is unknown but we know that 17% more Welshmen are diagnosed with prostate cancer than Englishmen.

“There is some evidence that adopting a healthy lifestyle and diet when young may reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer in the future.

“If you have any concerns about or have symptoms please contact your local GP about the next steps.”

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