FEAR, anxiety and uncertainty about the future can stop men getting checked out for prostate cancer – now one man has made it his mission to raise awareness of the disease.
Ian Smith has lived with the condition for more than eight years and has turned to his love of photography to make cancer into a talking point. The 70-year-old grandad has put together an exhibition entitled Prostate Cancer: Every Picture Tells a Story, which is on display at Blackpool Victoria Hospital for an eight-week period.
The exhibition focuses on five men, all diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer, and shows how they came through the process with the support of those around them.
Ian, 70, said: “There is a lot of masculinity about prostate cancer. Men don’t face it and they are not good at seeking help. This exhibition is aimed to start conversations about cancer, to take away the fear and anxiety.”
Before his diagnosis Ian was a keen cyclist, but turned to his second love, photography, and enrolled on a degree course after finding out he had cancer. It was through his course that he was able to put together the innovative exhibition.
“There is no screening programme for prostate cancer, so it is vital that people are aware of the symptoms,” Ian explained. I thought the exhibition was a great way to produce an old message using a new method.”
All Ian’s portraits feature the men with their wives by their side to celebrate the importance of the support of a spouse during such a traumatic time.
The exhibition has already been shown at Preston and Chorley and will move on to Lancaster in the Spring of 2019.
“The exhibition could not have happened without the cooperation of the couples are their willingness to donate time and effort for the benefit of others,” Ian, from Adlington, added.
“I know how supportive my wife has been and it is important to illustrate the role of families during the cancer journey.”
Patricia and Harold Kay, who are featured in the exhibition, joined Ian at the launch at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
Harold, 76, also from Adlington said he felt proud to have taken part in something that might save someone’s life.
“I left it late to get diagnosed and it was only to please my wife that I went to see a doctor. I would urge people to get checked for prostate cancer and I hope these pictures encourage people to talk about the condition.”
And the exhibition also helped Ian who has graduated with a first class degree from Bolton University.