A man who discovered he had prostate cancer “just in time” is urging others to be aware of the disease before it is too late.

Ian McNeil, who was 52 when he was diagnosed, was told by doctors if they had not caught it when they did, he would not have survived.

In Scotland, one in three men with the disease are diagnosed at stage four, when it is too late for a cure. 

Ian, from Clarkston, said: “Having no symptoms and being so young I never thought I’d get prostate cancer.

“But this disease is indiscriminate. My urologist said that if I hadn't caught this when I did, I wouldn't have made it to my 60th birthday – I was 52 when diagnosed and I’m 56 now.”

Every year, Ian had a check-up that included a PSA blood test. One year his PSA levels increased significantly and in 2018, after a thorough investigation, he was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer. He had no symptoms.

Glasgow Times: Ian says having cancer has changed his outlook on lifeIan says having cancer has changed his outlook on life (Image: Ian McNeil)

After undergoing a prostatectomy, radiotherapy and hormone therapy, he is now cancer-free.

Ian added: “I'm keen to do anything that helps raise awareness about this horrible disease. It is so important that more men spot it, test for it and get treated early.”

Ian shared his story to back a campaign by Prostate Cancer UK, after the charity’s research found that almost two thirds of men do not realise that early stage prostate cancer often has no symptoms.

The What on Earth is a Prostate? study, which surveyed more than 2000 men aged over 18, also found more than a third (36%) of Scottish men do not know where their prostate is and 81% are not sure what it does.

A man’s risk of contracting the disease increases if they are aged over 50, or over 45 if they are Black, or have a family history.

Glasgow Times: Ian McNeil is backing the charity's campaignIan McNeil is backing the charity's campaign (Image: Ian McNeil)

Men can find out if they are at higher risk of prostate cancer – and what they can do about it – by using Prostate Cancer UK’s 30-second online risk checker at prostatecanceruk.org/riskcheck.

Chiara De Biase, director of support and influencing at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Men’s health can be a minefield. Everyone has gaps in their knowledge and every one of us probably believes something that just isn’t true.   

“But what’s really worrying is that this misinformation could stop a man from getting the early diagnosis that could save his life.”

 Ian McNeil says having had cancer has changed his outlook on life.

“Now I've retired, it's accelerated my desire to go travelling, spend time with my wife, children and grandchildren and see the world,” he said. “It's made me realise that life is for living – you only get one shot.”