A BASILDON dad is spearheading a campaign on speaking about the intimate impacts of cancer.

Macmillan Cancer Support is encouraging people who have had the illness to talk openly about the seemingly taboo side effects of treatment such as sex, relationships, toilet habits and mental health.

Dad-of-two Elvin Box was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2016 and says he is far from ashamed to discuss the issue.

He said: “Fortunately, I don’t have any taboo subjects. I will talk about the incontinence, I will talk about erectile dysfunction, I will talk about mental health.

“You’ve got to be as open as possible, and as curious as possible.

“I had a radical prostatectomy, with nerve sparing surgery.

“Now, if you opt for surgery, you lose a lot of your potency.”

The 61-year-old of Lutea Close, in Basildon, added: “It was never explained to me that the feeling within an erection is nothing like it was before, nowhere near as strong.

“Secondly, you don’t actually orgasm as you did. I was shocked and stunned that there is no semen to ejaculate anymore.

“It’s three years this month since I was diagnosed.

“For the first year, I often forgot that I was dealing with cancer; having severe erectile disfunction was my worry - that and returning to full continence.

“Insecurities I’d had came rushing back regarding my sexual performance.

“In the darkest moments, you’re trying to come to terms with the fact that it is cancer, and it could come back at any time.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, it will have an effect on your mental health.”

Katy Low, Macmillan lead cancer nurse at Basildon Hospitals said it’s sad people are embarrassed to discuss it.

She said: “Patients I work with can often experience problems with incontinence, erectile dysfunction and relationships.

“I find these are some of the topics that people feel most embarrassed to broach, but not addressing these issues can have a huge impact on physical and emotional health, and in some instances, even treatment outcomes.” Go to www.macmillan.org.uk

61, of Lutea Close, Basildon,