Burton Albion chairman Ben Robinson has given his backing to helping men fighting prostate cancer. He made a guest speech at the monthly meeting held at Burton’s Queen Hospital which supports those affected by the cancer.

Organised by the hospital and the Burton Prostrate Cancer Support Group, the meeting was the fourth of its kind held since the group’s inception in January.

Roughly 60 people attended the Medical Education Centre at the Belvedere Road hospital on Monday, July 3, ranging from prostate cancer survivors to family members and patients currently dealing with the disease.

Mr Robinson ran through the history of the Burton Albion football club, from 1950s right up until the current season when Nigel Clough's men fought bravely to avoid relegation to the third division of English football. He also praised the group for its work and the growth it has seen since forming at the beginning of the year.

The group is self-funded and run by a committee. One of the original organisers, Rod Gent, 69, from Burton, said meetings like this allow those who have suffered or were suffering with the illness a platform to talk and share their experiences.

Mr Gent said: “It’s brilliant because it brings people who have gone through prostate cancer together to be able to talk about the issue, which can be a big problem when nobody wants to talk about it.

“I think it’s a lot to do with the wives and family too, being able to give them as much support as anyone else, because at the end of the day without them, men would suffer a lot more – they give the most support out of anyone.”

Mick Buttler (left) shakes hands with organiser, Rod Gent after handing over money raised for the group
Mick Buttler, left, shakes hands with organiser, Rod Gent after handing over money raised for the group

Mr Robinson was the guest speaker during the most recent meeting on Monday and spoke about the clubs history in the town from its birth in the 1950s right up until the modern day heights of Championship football and the success of players like Australian Jackson Irvine.

The club have made huge strides with helping the detection of prostate cancer. In March, 2017 staff from Burton's Queen's Hospital joined forces with a team from the football club to host a series of screening events and health activities.

Aiming to raise awareness about the condition, the campaign was a massive success with more than 100 men going along to the Pirelli Stadium to be examined, eight of who found to have cancer.

The first meeting was held at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium, in January, with Mr Robinson having been supportive of the group since then.

Speaking at the event, Mr Robinson spoke of how positive it was to see the group expand from when he had hosted the first meeting at the Pirelli Stadium. Now the group was big enough to fill the whole room at the Medical Education Centre at Burton’s Queen's Hospital.

He said: “I’m delighted to be here to share Burton Albion’s story. But even more so am delighted to see this group working and how it has incredibly increased by numbers.”

Ben Robinson took a series a questions after the talk about the Brewers success in the Championship
Ben Robinson took a series a questions after the talk about the Brewers success in the Championship

Being self-funded, the group relies on charity fund-raising to allow it to hold its monthly meetings at the hospital location. One member, Mick Buttler took it upon himself to raise £755 by hosting a fishing match, in early June for funds.

Other members of the group were invited along to Mr Buttler’s fishing spot. He works at brewer Molson Coors in Burton, and staged a day of fishing for a set price. Refreshments were sold on the day and donations taken to make the final sum.

Representatives from national cancer charities like Macmillan Cancer Support and Prostrate Cancer UK have a firm interest in the group and a representative from Macmillan was at Burton’s Queen's Hospital on Monday evening to make an announcement following the talk given by Mr Robinson.

It was announced that Sarah Minns and Jyoti Shah, who both work at Queen's Hospital in the urology department and help to arrange the events with the Burton Prostrate Cancer Support group have been shortlisted for the MacMillan national award which highlights the work and dedication given by volunteers for the charity throughout the year.

What is prostate cancer?

Well known as the most common cancer that affects men in the UK, with more than 40,000 new cases of prostate cancer being diagnosed every year.

A slow developing condition, with very few indications that it may be in your system for many years.

Direct causes of the condition is unknown, but there are a number of risks that can increase the chance of developing it. For example, age increases the risk of it, with most cases developing in men aged 50 or older.

Prostate cancer is more common in men of African-Caribbean or African descent, but less common in men of Asian descent. It can be a hereditary condition so those with a direct male relative, like a father or brother who are affected by prostate cancer are at a slightly increased risk of developing it.

Those suffering will have an enlarged prostate which affects the ability to urinate due to its expanding. Those suffering may find that they need to go to the toilet more frequently than normal and may have to strain while urinating, resulting in the bladder feeling like it isn’t completely empty.

Treatment for the condition is not normally an immediate action following diagnosis. At an early stage, when symptoms may not be caused, medical professionals will typically take a “watching and waiting” policy, to monitor how the condition changes over time.

Some cases see an operation on the affected area to remove the prostate, while radiotherapy and hormone therapy are also used.