I reached the age of 63, without the thought of getting prostate cancer crossing my mind. There was no history of cancer in my family as far as I could ascertain. The matter was not discussed among my friends, nor was it the subject of a suggestion by medical colleagues.

Other than having a problem with my thyroid gland 34 years earlier, I had had no serious illness whatsoever.

One day I had been at a party with some friends. On the way back, I needed to go to the toilet. However, I was unable to get there in time - and my bladder was uncontrollable. I was ashamed and seriously embarrassed.

This was part of the ageing process I thought. Wrong. A few weeks later, I was at the house of a friend. He is dyslexic. He has few books, but one of them was a home medical encyclopedia.

In order to pass the time I glanced at involuntary incontinence. To my shock, and surprise I found that one of the causes could be prostate cancer. I made an appointment with my local clinic where a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test was taken.

Approximately three weeks later I had an appointment with an associate consultant, who informed me that I had aggressive prostate cancer. He indicated that in order to make sure of his diagnosis I should have a biopsy examination.

I should add that he also carried out the finger test. It simply involves the specialist putting on a plastic glove and inserting a finger into my rectum.

Then the specialist feels in the area of the prostate to obtain an initial indication if there is cause for concern or not.

Since I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I have talked to many men, and found there are a large percentage who resist having such a test.

It is my opinion that they resist, not because of embarrassment, as suggested in the article, but because it is seen as possibly sexually humiliating.

I have tried to indicate that there is nothing humiliating about the test, and certainly about a result, which may save life. To no effect.

I will say a little about the biopsy. That involves the insertion into the rectum of a very tiny instrument, which takes ten or less samples, very minute samples, from the prostate gland. It feels like having a series of mosquito bites.

Those samples are then tested in order to ascertain the strength or otherwise of the prostate cancer.

I had a very high result. That result meant that I was faced with the choice of a radical surgery, the removal of the prostate, or chemotherapy. I discussed the options with the consultant.

While chemotherapy would be less destructive, there was no certainty that it would act effectively when compared with surgery. In view of the very aggressive state of my cancer, I had surgery.

Approximately 18 months later, after my regular PSA, test it was discovered that the level of carcinoma in my blood was rising. As a result, I underwent approximately six weeks of radiotherapy.

It appears that the radiotherapy, coupled with a daily hormone pill, has, for the time being, put the cancer firmly into remission.

When I became aware of what was happening to me I called the secretary of a club of which I was member, to ask whether I could talk to the members and alert them to the consequences of prostate cancer.

His reply was that it would be quite inappropriate to talk to members about such personal matters. I was both appalled and depressed.

His comment emphasised the general attitude of men either to ignore or not talk about prostate cancer.

There is one matter, which is seldom talked about. That is incontinence.

As I said at the beginning, the reason for my being alive now is that, on one occassion, I couldn't control my bladder.

Good news on the horizon?

After surgery, I was warned that my small intestine would be weakened, and that there would be some small leakage of urine. That occurred.

In the vast majority of cases, that leakage is cured by undertaking pelvic exercises, which strengthen the muscles in the area of the small intestine. These exercises must be undertaken, and they will have very beneficial effects.

As I have mentioned earlier, I underwent radiotherapy.

One of the side-effects of radiotherapy arises from the fact that the rays from radiation attack not only the area of concern, but also the surrounding area.

In my case the result was scarring of both the large and small intestine.

While my large intestine has recovered, providing that I give it regular doses of linseed, I have enjoyed' some very variable bouts of incontinence form my bladder.

The result of incontinence is, for me, a serious lack of confidence. When attending any event, when I am required to speak publicly or when the event is longer than two hours I can suffer panic attacks.

Then earlier this year I was extremely fortunate. I was introduced to the Continence Clinic in Oxford.

The clinic helped me find pads, or nappies as one might otherwise call them, which are of assistance in all but the most dire circumstances.

Apparently there are almost eight million men and women in my situation. But there is good news on the horizon, especially for men.

Recently I was introduced to a consultant who told me that, while most people consider having prostate cancer as the most serious aspect of the illness, in fact the incontinent life after cancer was the most debilitating of all.

He indicated that there may be an operation which could help control incontinence.

I have gone into some detail as to what occurs, and indeed as to what has occurred to me.

I beg men of my age, and at least ten years younger, to take the matter seriously and also call for a much more proactive approach from general practitioners throughout the United Kingdom.

In my case I was, and remain, very fortunate.