A MUSICIAN is urging men to have health check-ups after his late father was diagnosed with cancer when he went to the doctor for a bad cough.

Ben Newton, 39, from Maldon, is the son of ex-firefighter and community hero Bill Newton who died earlier this year after losing his fight with prostate cancer.

Ben is now encouraging men to get health checks, having taken the steps to get himself checked.

In the summer of 2011, Bill was 61 years old and already retired.

Daughter Justine, who works at Chelmsford’s Broomfield Hospital, noticed he had a persistent cough and suggested he get it checked out.

However, this trip to the doctors for the unrelated condition revealed a diagnosis which would shock his family.

Ben said: “He had a persistent cough, which my sister Justine was worried about, seeing as he was fit, active and healthy, was a non-smoker and had been in the fire service for 32 years.

“He was checked out, but all was fine.

“While he got the results, he was checked for cholesterol, and also had a prostate exam.

“They found it to be enlarged.”

Tests confirmed Bill had prostate cancer.

Although the cancer was treated with radiotherapy and hormone treatment, it came back in 2017 to his liver, which meant more treatment. Bill died this year, aged 69.

Ben said: “Dad was asymptomatic which basically meant he was not showing any signs or symptoms of having prostate cancer.

“It can affect people in different ways and its unfortunate that it hits some people harder than others.

“To men, I would say put the embarrassment and worry aside and get what you need to get done. You need to take it seriously because it can affect even healthy and seriously active guys. Go and get it checked because it could save your life.”

Prostate Cancer UK says about one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK.

For information about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, visit nhs.uk/conditions/ prostate-cancer.