Scotland rugby great John Rutherford wins cancer battle

Scotland rugby great John Rutherford. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Scotland rugby great John Rutherford. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Scotland rugby great John Rutherford has urged all men over 50 to get tested for prostate cancer after winning his own battle against the disease which killed his brother.

Rutherford, 62, admits he might not have been around to watch this year’s Six Nations had he not got an early diagnosis.

John Rutherford in action for Scotland against England's Rob Andrew during the 1986 Calcutta Cup win. Picture: Alan MacDonald

John Rutherford in action for Scotland against England's Rob Andrew during the 1986 Calcutta Cup win. Picture: Alan MacDonald

His younger brother, Billy, died aged 59 of prostate cancer. A routine visit to his GP last May, 16 months after his brother’s death, probably saved John’s life.

“I may never have been here to see the Six Nations if I hadn’t been diagnosed early with prostate cancer,” 1984 Grand Slam hero Rutherford said in an interview with the Daily Mail. “I have had a successful operation to remove the cancer cells before it spread which I suppose you could say has saved my life.

“I urge men over 50 to get tested as soon as possible as I only got myself tested, albeit it a bit later, in what were tragic circumstances after my brother Billy died of prostate cancer.

“Billy fell ill and didn’t know what was wrong. He was having problems with his water works and thought it was old guys trouble and never thought twice about it. A lot of people don’t.

“When he went to his doctor he was shocked to find out he had advanced prostate cancer.

“It had got into his bones but it was diagnosed too late to save him. If he had been tested earlier it could have saved his life. I would like to raise awareness of the disease to cut down the chances of that happening to others.

“Billy died at the age of just 59 and we were all devastated. He was a great man.”

Further information about prostate cancer, its symptoms, tests and treatments can be found at www.prostatescotland.org.uk