Swansea City AFC Foundation, Nationwide Building Society and Prostate Cymru deliver free PSA testing event

19th April

Swansea City AFC Foundation recently joined with Nationwide Building Society and Prostate Cymru to provide free PSA testing to 250 Swans fans and members of the community at the Swansea.com Stadium.

The PSA test is a potentially lifesaving but simple blood test that detects early markers of prostate cancer before symptoms develop.

Roughly 50,000 men across the UK will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2024, while one in eight men in Wales will develop the disease in their lifetime.

However, prostate cancer is often treatable with early detection via the PSA test, and the Swans Foundation offered 250 men the opportunity to undergo free tests as part of their ongoing health and wellbeing commitment.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do for more than a year,” explained head of Swansea City AFC Foundation, Paul France.

“This club is about more than football, and the Foundation has a really strong health and wellbeing programme.

“We were fortunate to work with Nationwide Building Society, who funded the 250 tests so that they are free to the people who attended. 

"That reduces the barriers for people coming forward and having test, and we filled 250 places in under two weeks.

"The room in which the tests took place overlooks the pitch and that’s important because it doesn’t feel clinical or medical. It’s just something the football club is doing for their community.

“It’s a familiar place for many, which makes people feel more relaxed.”

PSA Testing Event

Claire Atherton, member relationships director at Nationwide Building Society, added: “It was important for us to be involved in this event because we love to work with our communities and have a central role. 

"For the past five or six years, we’ve given one per cent of our pre-tax profits to our community funding events.

“I’ve worked with the Swansea City AFC Foundation for a number of years, and I spoke to Paul France about their current projects. He told me about this amazing initiative, and to be involved with that and provide the funding has been important for us.

“One person who attended said ‘this is amazing, I would never have gotten tested if it wasn’t for the club’, so Swansea City plays a really important role within our city. We come here every other week to support our team.

“It’s a collaboration and that’s what works so well, but we will continue to work with Prostate Cymru to raise awareness, because that is fundamental.”

The most at-risk demographic is men over 40, which is why football can play such an important role when it comes to reducing stigmas and increasing awareness of early detection, as Andy Thomas, Consultant Urology Surgeon and chairman of Prostate Cymru, explained.

“It was great to be at the stadium to perform the PSA testing event with Prostate Cymru and I think it’s been a great success," he said.

"We encourage men over 45 to learn about their risks and make informed decisions about their health, and sports such as football can play such an important role when it comes to reducing stigma and raising awareness around topics such as prostate cancer.

"In Wales, one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, with a one in three chance if you have a family history, or a one in four chance if you are a black man. Early diagnosis saves lives, so we really encourage people to get tested before they develop symptoms.

"We had our specialist nurse at the event to answer any pressing concerns anyone had, and she will also be available to talk to anyone via our free and confidential hotline if anyone has any questions when they receive their results.”

And, for anyone who receives a letter in red recommending a referral after the testing event, Swansea City’s 2023-24 charity partner Maggie’s Swansea are on hand to offer emotional and practical support.

Maggie's at Prostate Cymru event

“We’ve found that more and more men are being diagnosed at a younger age, but the earlier it’s picked up and diagnosed, it’s more preventative and the treatment is less invasive so events like this are really important,” explained Lucy Aubery, cancer support specialist at Maggie’s Swansea, who runs the charity’s prostate group.

“The men who attended will spread the news so, while it’s 250 people at the event, the awareness will be there for a lot more men and hopefully more will get tested. 

"Days like this are incredible because generally men don’t talk or find it hard to go to events like this.

“Depending on when the diagnosis is picked up, depends on how it impacts people mentally and physically but if you get bad news, Maggie's can help with information on treatment options, provide pre- and post-treatment support for you and your family, and offer benefits advice."