The story of saving a human being

By Dr Khalid Al-Saleh

Someone asked for permission to see me in the clinic, and as soon as I allowed him in, he came in with a huge smile. He shook my hand hard and thanked me warmly. I knew him, as he is one of the senior people of opinion in Kuwait. After his enthusiasm cooled down, he told me what he experienced earlier.

“At the start of last summer, I was going to Switzerland, where I usually spend my usual vacation,” he said. “At the airport, there were volunteers from CAN campaign.” He was referring to the National campaign for fighting cancer, which is under the patronage of His Highness the Amir. The role of volunteers was to distribute booklets about awareness of cancer, he said. “Just before I entered the passports counter, a young man approached and presented me with a booklet while smiling and said: ‘here, uncle,’ so I smiled back, received the booklet and slipped it in my pocket,” he said.

“While on board the plane, I took the booklet out and began reading it,” he went on. “The booklet was about prostate cancer that affects men and contained an explanation of the initial symptoms and how easy it can be treated with early detection. I looked closely at the symptoms, and I found them in myself. I felt the booklet was explaining to me what started to hit me. I was worried at first, then continued to read and found the most important message in the booklet, which calls for seeing a doctor and have the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.”

The senior man said, “as soon as I arrived in Geneva, I went for my doctor, and I asked him for that test. The doctor listened to my complaint and did what is required, and the result was the rise in tumor indicators. That was followed by taking a biopsy, and specialists were sure that there was prostate cancer in its early stages. I received treatment and recovered after that.”

“Before returning to Kuwait, and during my last visit to the doctor, he asked me: ‘Who told you about the name of this test and warned you about the initial symptoms?’ I took the booklet out and I pointed to the campaign’s name, so the doctor told me to go to one of the volunteers of the campaign and thank him because they saved my life,” he said.

This is a story I recall today, as the latest statistics by Kuwait Cancer Control Center (KCCC) showed that prostate cancer among men in Kuwait became number one among total cases. The CAN campaign continues with awareness against the most common cancer diseases in Kuwait headed by prostate cancer. Awareness about this cancer means that each man who reached 50 years of age must visit his clinic and ask for the PSA test, and this becomes more necessary among men who start to complain from weak urine flow or become intermittent.

The volunteers in this campaign will feel the value of what they are doing if they found who pay attention to the awareness campaigns, and I will be happier if the story of this man is repeated many times, as awareness is the secret of success against cancer and increase the rates of recovery. To men who are over 50, take precaution. The PSA is only a blood test that is available in every health center, and makes your smile so wide, as it was on the face of that senior man, because it means you have defeated the era’s disease.

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