Richard Martin, scientist and wannabe cricketer

Richard is an expert in prostate cancer and we have funded three of his projects

How did you get into cancer research?

I got involved by chance when I was a junior researcher, being asked to help set up the first and largest UK randomised controlled trial of PSA screening for prostate cancer. I took over the leadership of the project, and that led to a large programme of cancer research.    

Do you wear a lab coat? And if no, why not?

No I do not. I am what is known as a "population-based" researcher. I study large groups of people through questionnaires, blood samples, and clinical information, and through interventions like screening or lifestyle changes, and then analysing the results. As a doctor, I am naturally drawn to studies that involve people rather than cells grown in a laboratory.      

What part of your research career are you most proud of?

I am most proud of setting up the first and largest UK randomised controlled trial of PSA screening for prostate cancer and following the study up for over 10 years now. We showed that the PSA test is a blunt tool for screening and that better methods of screening are needed. We are now following up the trial for 15 years. This trial helped inform policy around the world on whether or not to introduce PSA screening for prostate cancer as an organised screening method.  

When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

I actually wanted to be a microbiologist or a cricket player! But I was told microbiology was too difficult for me and I was a useless (but enthusiastic) cricketer, so I did medicine instead. 

Did you ever set fire/make anything explode in science lessons at school?

I think I may have singed the hairs on my forearms when using the Bunsen burner!  

Thank you from Richard

Richard Martin, WCRF researcherThrough your donations, World Cancer Research Fund has funded three of my projects. You can read more about them on the World Cancer Research Fund International website:

Older age at sexual maturity linked to lower risk of later prostate cancer
Vitamin B12 and folate associated with increased risk of prostate cancer
Vitamin D and prostate cancer