A LIONS member has urged other men to get tested on May 12 after he battled a 'devastating' prostate cancer diagnosis.

David Merchant attended the annual awareness event, organised by Reading Lions Club, with his wife and felt like he had nothing to lose.

He was the district governor for the South at the time and came to show support to his fellow Lions, but left with the worst possible news.

David, from Newbury, received the dreaded red letter, indicating he had a high PSA score, and a series of follow-up tests confirmed he had prostate cancer.

He said: "This was a devastating blow to me and my family. I had no idea of what was going on inside my body. I had none of the classic symptoms of prostate cancer.

"I had no problems passing urine, no blood in my urine and no pain or discomfort.

"Since I underwent treatment, I have had regular consultations and blood tests. I am healthy individual doing all the things that I love.

"My wife and I are immensely grateful to Reading Lions for organising these screenings and helping to prolong my life expectancy. I urge all men over the age of 50 to attend this event."

Thousands of men are expected to head to Circle Hospital for the sixth year of the event, with dozens of men likely to learn they have been living with cancer without even realising.

More than 4,000 people have already taken part in the first five years, with nearly 300 of those being told they have cancer.

John Mack, event organiser, added: "This is a simple blood test. Many men think it is digital and it puts them off. The number of letters and phone calls that we get saying thank you for saving my life every year is wonderful.

"The best symptoms to have for prostate cancer is no symptoms. If you catch it at an early stage it is still in the prostate and that is curable."