“I OWE MY LIFE to Thames Water’s personal medical assessments that were delivered by Healthy Performance”.
They are the words of Paul Alexander, health and safety training co-ordinator at Thames Water.
Back in July, Paul was preparing to go on holiday with his wife and daughter. However, before he went away and enjoyed his week in the sun, Paul was due to receive a personal medical assessment (PMA), conducted by ourselves.
At 59 and a keen walker, Paul was feeling fit and healthy prior to his PMA. He had also received a clean bill of health from the previous year’s PMA. However, the results of our PMA in 2015 told differently.
Unfortunately, upon conducting a PSA blood test for prostate cancer, we discovered Paul to have abnormal results.
“I had no family history but felt it was a sensible precaution to have a PSA blood test. I’d not been able to arrange one last year so I wanted to rule out cancer,” said Paul Alexander.
Five days after we had conducted the test and four days into his holiday in Gran Canaria, we had to deliver the unfortunate results to Paul. Upon contacting Paul, James Webb from Healthy Performance; confirmed he had received an abnormal result and urged him to contact his GP as soon as possible.
Understandably, he didn’t waste any time and within days of returning home he had undergone a biopsy at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. Nine days later he was told that cancerous cells had been detected on both sides of his prostate gland.
“I was shocked and tearful,” said Paul. “It’s a big thing to be told you’ve got cancer and you find yourself thinking ‘This is it… my number might be up’.”
Over the course of the following five days, Paul underwent both a bone scan and an MRI scan to find out if the cancer had spread to other parts of his body.
Thankfully, both were clear, meaning his cancer had been caught early enough to make both his prognosis good and giving him more options for treatment.
With treatment including localised surgery and radiotherapy over the coming months, it is anticipated that the cancer can be addressed effectively.
“I’m in no doubt whatsoever that had I not taken this optional PSA test my condition could have gone undetected for years and the consequences could have been far more severe, if not potentially terminal,” said Paul.
“This has probably saved my life.” While he is full of praise for the speed and clinical excellence of the NHS, Paul is particularly thankful that Thames Water places as much emphasis on personal wellbeing as it does on general safety in the workplace.
“To any of my male colleagues who feel uncertain or concerned about taking a PSA test I actively encourage them to take advantage of the opportunity to get checked out. “The vast majority who take it will have clear results but if you have got an issue then you might just be able to detect it early.”