Former Scotland keeper Jim Leighton on cancer diagnosis

Jim Leighton at 1998 World Cup
Jim Leighton represented his country 91 times

Former Scotland goalkeeper Jim Leighton has told how a chat to an old team-mate led to him discovering he had prostate cancer.

Leighton, 62, was consoling former Aberdeen player Willie Garner after he had been diagnosed with the disease.

But after being prompted by Garner to get tested himself, the ex-Manchester United keeper was given the news he too had cancer.

“I was very lucky,” Leighton told BBC Scotland’s Sportsound.

“I got tested and my PSA count [a protein made only by the prostate gland] was through the roof and it just went from there.

“I was due to have my prostate removed in June and I got a phone call a week before to say the cancer had escaped into my lymph nodes and they weren’t going to take the prostate out.

“I had to go on to hormone injections for two years and I had 37 consecutive work days off with radiotherapy. I got a phone call in the last couple of months to say the cancer in my blood is undetectable. That was a big boost for us.

“The problem I have is that when my injections stop the prostate will start working again so at some stage the cancer is likely to come back, but we will just deal with that if and when it happens.”

Leighton, who played 91 times for Scotland, was told by Garner that the condition, which affects one in 10 men in Scotland, can be hereditary.

Despite admitting he would never have considered getting tested previously, the former international goalkeeper has urged others not to be scared to get themselves checked.

“It’s not just yourself, it’s your family and friends. You always know who your real friends are when things like this happen,” said Leighton.

“My dad had only died of prostate cancer two months before that. When I got told it was hereditary it was an easy decision to make.

“Don’t think it can’t happen to you. I had no symptoms but by the time we got to the stage to get my prostate out the cancer had already escaped. I would never have gone for a test unless Willie had told me.

“All it is is a blood test and it only takes two minutes.”

For more information on prostate cancer please visit prostatecancer.orgexternal-link or prostatescotland.orgexternal-link

BBC News