AN ex-farmer with prostate cancer is backing a Cancer Research UK campaign to help save more lives, as the charity fights back from the impact of the pandemic.

When Gareth Edwards found out he had cancer two years ago, he describes how his “mind went all over the place.”

The 59-year-old, from Llangollen, first went to the GP after experiencing problems with urinating.

He said: “I had suffered with prostatitis for a few years and then I had problems with peeing including a reduced flow and feeling like I couldn’t empty my bladder properly.”

A blood test revealed Gareth had a raised PSA level of 3.3 and he was then referred for an MRI scan in March 2017 which showed a PIRADS score of 2. It was decided that Gareth would be monitored, and he would be tested regularly.

Fast forward to April 2019 and his PSA had increased to 9.1, resulting in another MRI which showed a PIRADS score of 5. In June 2019, following a template biopsy, Gareth was told the news he had a small amount of cancer in one side of the prostate.

He said: “When you’re told you have cancer, your mind goes all over the place. It was a shock and it took some time to process.”

As Gareth’s cancer was in the early stages, it was decided he would follow the ‘active surveillance’ approach which means his cancer is monitored and he is tested regularly to check whether the prostate cancer is staying the same size or starting to grow.

“My PSA sadly continued to rise by October 2020, and so I had another MRI and then I was meant to have a biopsy in January 2021, but that was delayed due to COVID,” said Gareth. “I had a rescheduled biopsy a few weeks ago and that showed the cancer has grown a little bit more, so I am now looking at possibly starting radiotherapy in the future.”

Gareth is keen to look at all his treatment options to see what will suit him and his lifestyle as someone who loves the outdoors.

He said: “For the last two years, we have been monitoring it with regular tests and I have been happy with that, but there is always the tick, tick, tick of the C word at the back of your mind.”

Thankfully, Gareth has found a lot of support though sharing his story on social media.

“Twitter has been a great platform for me to share my story and connect with others going through the same thing,” said Gareth.

And Gareth is keen to encourage people who have noticed any unusual or persistent changes to contact the GP.

He said: “I am trying to help men talk about any symptoms they may have. Men generally don’t talk about personal issues, but getting cancer diagnosed early is crucial. So from my point of view, if posting a few videos on social media persuades one man to get checked out, then I’ve made a difference.”

Gareth knows first-hand the importance of research which is why he’s highlighting a powerful new short film from Cancer Research UK, which underlines how everyone has a part to play in the fight against the disease.

It features the rallying call to arms: “One in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime. All of us can support the research that will beat it.”

It’s a sobering statistic, but Gareth hopes his story will inspire people to make a difference and become a part of the solution to this devastating disease.

“As a result of the pandemic, cancer is as urgent an issue now as it’s ever been. With so many people affected, we’re all in this together, so I hope that people across Wales will play their part. Every action – big or small – helps Cancer Research UK to ensure more people survive.”

In the Wales, around 19,300 people are diagnosed with cancer every year.

Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, Cancer Research UK’s work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has been at the heart of the progress that has seen survival in the UK double in the last 40 years.

Ruth Amies Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the Wales, said: “We are grateful to Gareth for his support. COVID-19 has hit us hard, but we are more focussed than ever on our ambition of seeing 3 in 4 people survive their cancer by 2034.

“This past year proves, more than any other, the value of research and what can be achieved together. Just like science is our route out of the pandemic, science is our route to beating cancer.

“That’s why we want to harness the ‘people power’ of our incredible supporters, because the progress we make relies on every hour of research, every pound donated and everyone who gets involved.

“So, whether they give £2 a month, sign up to Race for Life, volunteer at our shops or pledge to leave a gift in their Will - with the help of people in Wales we believe that together we will beat cancer.”

Cancer Research UK was able to spend around £4 million in Wales last year on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.

Play a part in supporting life-saving research at