AN ANDOVER prostate cancer survivor, who underwent radical new treatment to beat his disease, has founded a unique support group.

Joe Tuftnell has set up the ‘Proton Ambassadors Group’ in a bid to share his experiences and endorse the benefits of proton therapy treatment.

The 72-year-old, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012, spent £20,000 of his own money to undergo the treatment in the Czech Republic.

As a result of the treatment, which isn’t available in the UK, Mr Tuftnell was cured of the disease and has been cancer free since 2013.

The former IBM engineer is now hoping to share his personal experience with others through his new group.

Mr Tuftnell, said: “The idea is to meet everyone, listen to their stories and to spread awareness about proton beam therapy.

“I talk to patients who are not certain about what to do next after they’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“And these people find a bit of peace and reassurance when they can talk to someone who’s lived through it.

“It can all seem daunting at first, particularly the prospect of flying to a foreign country for treatment.

“And at the moment people simply don’t know enough about proton therapy. I want that to change.

“We’re petitioning GPs and urologists to make them more aware of what proton therapy has to offer, so that they can then pass on that knowledge to their patients.

“Basically, I feel I have greatly benefited from proton therapy. And I want to show people that it works.”

The group, a non-profit organisation with around 45 members already, both male and female, first met in September this year at Imperial College London.

A website and Facebook group has been set up to allow patients to talk about or seek advice about their own cancer journeys.

Mr Tuftnell added: “I want British men to be informed about all available options. No man has to suffer during and after prostate cancer treatment.”