A RETIRED police officer from Teignbridge who is living with terminal prostate cancer is calling for more widespread screening for men. 

Former sergeant Jim Lewis-Clarke, 57, says a cheap and simple PSA blood test can detect the disease and he believes screening should be routine, as it is for women’s cancers. 

He was 47 when he first contacted his GP about the possibility of a cancer check when his brother Jeremy was diagnosed with the disease. 

Testing on the NHS is usually only carried out on men over 50 - but only upon request.

While Jim had no symptoms at the time, he was aware that there is an increased risk if a close relative has the disease. 

He was told he was too young at 47.

But had he been tested at the time, the cancer would have been detected much earlier. 

Jim said: ‘Prevention is better than cure but I don’t think the awareness is really there. 

‘You don’t always have symptoms to have the disease.

‘People’s lives are being cut short by not being tested, that is the reality.

‘We could do so much better.’

Jim’s account of his illness comes as King Charles has revealed he is being treated for cancer which was discovered when he underwent a proceedure for an enlarged prostate. 

Jim and his wife Michelle, also a former police office who is the clerk at Kingsteignton Town Council, are now coming to terms with his condition and he has been writing a blog about his experiences since he was eventually diagnosed in 2016. 

He explained that the PSA test - Prostate Specific Antigen - is a very cheap test 

He said: ‘For the sake of such a cheap test, if it is caught early enough, it can be treated. 

‘By diagnosing early, this can prevent spread outside the prostate and the formation of tumours.

‘I don’t want to sound bitter or angry. I accept there is no more treatment for me.’

His brother, a journalist with the Spectator magazine, who died last year, had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013. 

Jim had been due to retire from the police in 2018 when he completed his 30 years service. 

He went to his GP but he was told at 47, he was too young. 

He said: ‘I had no symptoms so I wasn’t given a blood test.’

It is only in the last two years, Jim said, the NHS has begun to give blood tests to men aged 50 and over.

But even that would not have helped Jim as he was still three years below that age. 

Three years after his brother’s diagnosis, Michelle noticed Jim having to get up several times during the night when they were on holiday. 

On their return, he went back to his GP who did a test and said everything seemed normal but Jim believes the doctor did not seem to know how to carry out the examination correctly. 

It was then the PSA blood test was carried out.

While normal levels should read under 1, Jim’s was 118. 

It was clear something was wrong. 

He said: ‘I looked it up online and saw it was bad news. 

‘I went to see a urologist at Torbay Hospital who said the tests were grossly abnormal.’

It was confirmed Jim had high grade metastatic prostate disease. 

Jim said: ‘Had a blood test been done three years earlier, it would have shown up.

‘Now it has spread to my hips, ribs and spine. 

‘I did have a pretty poor prognosis but I am still here.

‘The irony is I am still relatively well, I can walk 25 miles and play golf.

‘But there is no more treatment for me and it is going to catch up with me.

‘I am having to deal with this and what it means for my family. 

‘What I would like people to know is that it is not necessary to have symptoms to have this disease.

‘I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.’

Jim has undergone a range of treatment including chemotherapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy which kept the cancer under control for a while.

He also received trial treatment at leading cancer hospital the Royal Marsden in London for a potential new drug. 

But he was told there was a 33 percent chance that he would receive a placebo drug and that most trial drugs never make it to market.