Ironman Grandad proud to take part in global prostate cancer study

Posted 1st September 2022

Jim McDonald in his ironman tshirt

A grandad from Chester is helping global research into the treatment and care of men with prostate cancer.

And 73-year-old Jim McDonald is so proud to be part of the worldwide clinical study he is involved in that he wears a T-shirt celebrating his participation.

Jim, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January, is taking part in the Ironman study at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.

As part of Urology Awareness Month, Jim is speaking about living with the disease after signing up to the International Registry for Men with Advanced Prostate Cancer (Ironman). The 73-year-old said: “The Ironman study is following men across the world, finding out about their lifestyles and experiences while having various treatments for prostate cancer.

“It is global study and, hopefully, it will find answers about how it is best to treat prostate cancer and improve the lives of men who are living with the disease.

“My lifestyle hasn’t changed much since I was diagnosed, apart from the checks and blood tests I need to go for, so I was really pleased to be asked to join the Ironman study. So much so that my daughter had an Ironman T-shirt made for me!”

Ironman, which is sponsored by men’s health charity the Movember Foundation, is aiming to enrol 5,000 men across 16 countries, including in Australia, Brazil, Kenya and the United States. The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is one of the UK sites, with its study led by Consultant Oncologist Dr Isabel Syndikus.

Jim answers regular surveys about living with prostate cancer and his physical and mental state, including how the disease and treatment side-effects impact on things like his sleeping, eating and leisure time.

His current treatment includes hormone therapy on another research study, the Atlanta NHS clinical trial, led by Clatterbridge Consultant Oncologist Dr Azman Ibrahim.

Jim said: “It is really good to publicise the Ironman study – it will hopefully make life better in the long-run for people with prostate cancer. More and more men are being diagnosed with it so we need to improve things for them.”

Clatterbridge Research Officer Kathryn Hughes gave Jim an Ironman badge because of his enthusiasm for the study – and Jim’s daughter, Jenny Lee, took that one step further with the T-shirt.

Kathryn said: “It is great that Jim is so pleased to be taking part in this study – he jumped at the chance to join when he heard it was called Ironman!

“We have 20 men taking part in this research at Clatterbridge. We have reached our target but have been asked to continue recruiting as we have one of the highest success rates in signing participants in the UK.

“It is great to know we are in partnership with research centres across the world in this important research.”

Jim is also advising men not to ignore the signs of prostate cancer, the most common male cancer in the UK. Jim noticed he was needing to pee more often and went to see his GP after this worsened. After a test and a scan he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, with signs that it had also spread to the pelvic bone.

Jim, who worked in retail before his retirement, said: “I would urge anyone who is noticing symptoms such as needing to pee more often to contact their GP surgery. You can’t ignore these things.”

Jim recently renewed his wedding vows on a Mediterranean cruise after being married for 51 years to wife Kay, surrounded by their family, including their daughter, son and four grandchildren.

“It was a blow to be told I had cancer,” Jim said. “But, basically, I’ve just looked at it in the eye and told it to sod off! Kay and my family are

Jim and his wife Kay

supporting me in that and being really positive.

“Being on a clinical research trial is really reassuring. I’m monitored all the time and the staff at Clatterbridge are second to none. Their dedication and care really are fantastic. I believe it is a partnership between me with my positive attitude and the fabulous team at Clatterbridge.”

Find out the symptoms of prostate cancer here.

And check your chance of developing prostate cancer with this free, online risk checker tool.