Surgeon, Gareth Jones out fundraising
By Lucy Ashton
An award winning surgeon, who has dedicated his career to improving the lives of people with kidney stones, is now hoping to save lives by raising awareness of the impacts of prostate cancer.
Mr Gareth Jones, an Endourological surgeon with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, was recently recognised for his life changing work, which saw him bring new kidney stone operation practices to the West of Scotland while training new surgeons in modern procedures. But now his attention is focused on helping to raise awareness about prostate cancer, a disease that his impacted him personally and affects one in eight men in the UK.
Gareth, 55, was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer in June 2021 and since has been very vocal about why men should ensure they are getting checked. With November a dedicated awareness raising month, through campaigns such as Movember, Gareth is urging as many men as possible to listen to advice as it could save their life.
The surgeon, who has worked at Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary since 2002, said: “It’s so vital that men get checked. It’s simple and relatively painless. If prostate cancer is caught early then you have so much more of a better chance of cure. Getting checked for prostate cancer should be front and centre when it comes to men’s health.
“For me, as a surgeon you sometimes think you can cope with most things but getting this news was very, very difficult. I had an accelerated diagnoses so it all happened very quickly. If I’m being honest I’m still processing it now. I have got stage four prostate cancer, so it’s all about managing it now.
“There are so many factors you don’t really consider or think about, there are the obvious physical impacts but there are so many psychological aspects to this too. I have been really well supported though my journey , by friends and colleagues , with the input of the palliative care team and psychologists at Maggie’s too.
“I’m not currently working, so what I have been doing recently is supporting the Prostate Cancer UK Scotland Hub with the view of helping out whenever I am able to. This involves raising awareness and looking for opportunities to get stands back in hospitals following the COVID-19 pandemic and also educate our partners in General Practice.”
As well as playing his part in raising awareness, Gareth has raised over £4,400 for the charity, covering over 180 miles, swimming, cycling, running and walking back in January.
The father of two said: “I was looking to do some fundraising in January for lifesaving research and support for men and their families affected by prostate cancer. I planned to do the distance of a marathon over the month. But I got a bit carried away and did a bit more than that. I have a triathlon and Ironman history, so I decided I would do an iron man over the month. I ended up getting that finished within a week so I just carried on adding more to the challenge.
“I would meet friends and we’d cycle or do a bit of running. I remember one Friday going to the pool at Tollcross and completing a 1.9km swim. I also went on the heritage park in East Kilbride with my wife and friends and cycled at Whitelee Windfarm too. I travelled to Switzerland for work at one point and used that as an opportunity to walk down the mountains.”
Last month, Gareth was honoured by the British Association of Urological Surgeons with the inaugural Silver Ureteroscope Award, for his dedication to endourology training in Glasgow and the west of Scotland since his own training back in 1997.
Gareth received the award at the annual BAUS endourology meeting in Southampton and admits it all came as a bit of a shock.
He said: “I was really surprised to learn that I was going to be given the award as it’s the first time they have given it out, so I wasn’t even aware of it.
“When I was training I noticed that there was a need for advanced kidney stone operations and a more formal stone service in Glasgow and the West of Scotland so became really interested in learning all I could and passing that on to others.
“I didn’t really know how to respond to the award , it’s really humbling.”
Check your risk, or ask a man you know to check their risk of prostate cancer this Movember at prostatecanceruk.org/risk-checker.
Top picture: Service personnel from the Clyde Submarine Base give their support to cancer charities.