A new campaign to highlight the fact that one in four Black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, compared to one in eight for other ethnicities, is being backed by Olympian Linford Christie.
Fact! Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for men in the UK. Despite this frightening statistic, less than a quarter (24%) of Black men are aware of the higher risk for them due to their Black ethnicity.
The new research, from private cancer care provider, GenesisCare and charity, Prostate Cancer Research, has found that simply having conversations and knowing about symptoms and what to look out for could be the difference between life and death.
A sample of 2,000 men confirmed that it really is good to talk. Those men who talk about cancer with friends or family are four times as likely to recognise the symptoms (31% vs 8%) and twice as likely to receive an early cancer diagnosis (83% vs 43%).
Information and awareness really are the key, but the stats show that men are citing feelings of embarrassment and feeling uncomfortable due to the nature of the symptoms as reasons why they shy away from talking about cancer.
The research showed that of the 30% of Black men who shied away from talking about prostate problems would open up more about it if they saw others talking about it more, for example on TV. Likewise, if they were guided by medical professionals on how to broach the topic.
Added to these issues, was the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which saw lower numbers of people, particularly Black men visiting their GPs for fear of contracting COVID-19 while visiting medical facilities (32%, vs 9% of white men).
Long-time spokesperson for Prostate Cancer campaigner, legendary sprinter and Olympian Linfird Christie has lent his voice and influence to raising awareness about prostate cancer. Speaking about why he wanted to support this work, he said:
“Most people don’t want to think about getting older and the health implications that it brings – but being aware of the symptoms of something like prostate cancer so you can act quickly could save a life.
“I want to normalise conversations around prostate cancer. We’ve seen from the research the positive impact that these conversations can have when it comes to recognising symptoms and getting tested as soon as possible.”
So, what are the symptoms to look out for?
Prostate cancer symptoms can include changes in urination for example difficulty when urinating or an increase in the frequency of urination. Some men may also notice blood in their urine or semen.
While these symptoms may not be caused by cancerous conditions, if you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
Dr Naomi Elster at Prostate Cancer Research added: “This research highlights how few people are aware of the higher risk that comes with Black ethnicity. This is not a problem for only the Black community to solve.
“Much more research needs to be done to understand why Black men are at higher risk, how they can be treated most effectively and what the real-life impacts of cancer are in that community. This year, we will specifically invest in research which aims to improve the situation for Black men.”
Are you a Black man and concerned about Prostate Cancer? Visit the Prostate Cancer Research website to learn what to do next…