Monday 22 July 2019

'We all know the warning signs, but ignore them'

Gay Byrne at the Books Awards last week. Picture By David Conachy.
Gay Byrne at the Books Awards last week. Picture By David Conachy.
Rory Tevlin

Rory Tevlin

Gay Byrne previously had a prostate cancer scare but he said that a diagnosis of the illness is not a "death sentence".

The veteran broadcaster made the comments almost four years ago after his good friend Michael Parkinson (81) was diagnosed with the illness.

Mr Byrne (82) said that prostate cancer was very treatable as he wished Mr Parkinson well.

He said: "I am of course sorry to hear it. But it's prostate cancer, not a death sentence, and these things are treatable once they are diagnosed.

"I had a scare myself a number of years ago but it was benign, so I was very, very lucky.

"We all know the warning signs but we all think we are 'macho men' and ignore them.

"If you have even the slightest concern you should have it checked out immediately."

Mr Byrne said he had noticed some warning signs for the best part of a year, like having difficulty urinating, but ignored them, hoping they would go away.

A friend advised him to go to the Blackrock Clinic, where he had an operation to clear a blockage.

Mr Byrne explained: "Two days after the op, [the doctor] came to tell me that what had been bothering my prostate was benign."

His health scare forced him to pull out of presenting the annual Rose of Tralee Festival in 1995, as Derek Davis replaced him.

Irish Independent

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