Colin Thomson (pictured) is living proof that the message behind a Scottish Government health campaign which launches today really is a life-saver.
It aims to change the way cancer is understood in Scotland, ensuring people act early to improve their chances of survival - for example by posting a completed bowel screening test, attending a mammogram or having a prostate examination.
The campaign will also stress one key fact many may not be aware of, which is that more people survive cancer than die from it.
Survivor Colin Thompson (61) was diagnosed with prostate cancer after sensibly going to see his GP when he realised he was urinating more often than seemed normal.
That led to tests confirming he had early stage prostate cancer, and he underwent surgery to have his prostate removed.
Now he is back at work, running a hotel, whereas if he had ignored the warning signs the disease would ultimately have proved fatal.
He said: “I put my frequency of peeing down to the cold weather and getting older.
“When I talked to my GP, he gave me a blood test and then I was sent for a biopsy.
“A week later I was told I had prostate cancer.
“When I was sent for an MRI I felt like a bit of a fraud, as other than going to the toilet a lot I felt completely fine.
“The tumour was bigger than they had initially thought, so I’m so glad I went to the doctors when I did.
“I hate to think what would have happened if I’d left it any longer.”
He added: “We welcomed our granddaughter Harriet two and a half years ago, and my two sons have started their own business which is doing incredibly well. I’m immensely proud of them and very lucky to be here to see it all happening.
“A lot of people, especially men, can be reluctant to go to their doctor when they’re worried about their health.
“That needs to change. If you’re worried, get it checked out.”
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “This campaign is about highlighting how we can all play a part in continuing to boost cancer survival rates in Scotland.
“More people are surviving cancer than ever before, but we know that fear of cancer is putting people off getting checked or attending screening, when invited.
“This latest campaign has been developed to remind people across Scotland of their resilience and strength, in the hope that they’ll act early to give themselves the best chance of finding cancer early.”
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith said:
“There are now many cancers where the earlier it is found, the easier it is to treat and the higher your chance of survival.
“If you notice any potential signs or symptoms, please do see your doctor, who will want to discuss them with you. Don’t put any concerns to the back of your mind.”