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Former Newmarket Town footballer Martin is a man on a mission to get men over 30 to get themselves checked for prostate cancer

A former Newmarket Town footballer who was diagnosed with prostate cancer nearly two years ago has appealed to men over 30 to get themselves checked for the disease.

Martin Boatright was told he had prostate cancer in May 2018 although had suffered none of the usual symptoms until just before he went to his GP who carried out a test and immediately referred him to West Suffolk Hospital.

“They did all sorts of scans and biopsies and told me pretty much on the spot that I had an aggressive tumour which had been there for some time,” said Martin, who underwent nearly 40 sessions of radiotherapy over a seven-and-a-half week period at Genesis Care, in Newmarket, and faces another two years of monthly blood tests.

Martin Boatright(28329707)
Martin Boatright(28329707)

“I have been told the results so far have been good but I will wait until these have ended before I believe my treatment is successful,” he said.

With prostate cancer fast catching up with breast cancer as the most prevalent form of the disease in the UK, Martin has lent his voice to calls for routine screening to be made available in the same way women are called in for breast cancer x-rays.

Martin was 56 at the time of his diagnosis but believes that with a system of regular checks in place the tumour might have have been found a year earlier.

“If it was done at five year intervals I would have been tested at 55 and that would have caught it. I cannot believe that men are not routinely screened for this common but terrible disease.

“My message to all men is simple. Go to your GP and ask for this very simple, painless physical check-up and don’t take no for an answer. It takes just a couple of minutes and, at the risk of sounding dramatic, it could save your life”.

Martin played football for Newmarket Town when he was in his mid-20s and went on to play in the club’s senior side and also managed junior and senior teams. Nowadays, a father of four and with seven grandchildren, he plays a couple of times a week for an over-50s side at Bottisham.

Determined to pass on his message, Martin often speaks to the players about prostate cancer.“It’s very frustrating that I’ve told about 100 middle to older age group men about the importance of screening. They do a lot of looking at the floor and giggling but as far as I know only four of them have acted on it.”

As well as campaigning for screening, Chelsea fan Martin and his wife Laura, who live in Newmarket Road, Fordham, took part in a major national fund-raiser for Prostate Cancer Research. The Jeff Stelling March for Men saw a group of 300 people walk between five football grounds in London, led by the popular Sky Sports presenter and a number of ex-Football League players including Chris Kamara and Paul Parker.

“We walked for eleven-and-a-half hours, starting at West Ham, then going to Charlton, Millwall and Arsenal before finishing at the new Spurs ground. Between us we raised £4,000 and the total for the whole event was over a million pounds.

But I don’t want to stop there,” said Martin. “I want to continue to get the message across.