Don't let pride get in the way

British boxer David Haye wants black men to take action before it is too late

What is your connection to prostate cancer?

Well, before getting involved with this campaign I knew very little about prostate cancer. I’ve only recently been made aware that the first step is to actually just speak to your GP and you can have a blood test, called a PSA test. I’m pretty sure most people are unaware too.

What do you think about the increased risk of prostate cancer amongst black men?

When you hear that one in eight people will get prostate cancer and one in four will be from black Afro Caribbean backgrounds, it does send a shiver down my spine. It’s a crazy statistic and you’d think a lot more people would be speaking about it. You’d think it would be a topic of conversation but it isn’t.

The problem is that not enough of us are talking about the disease.

In my family, my father for instance has never mentioned it to me, neither have my uncles or grandads. Maybe they’ve got checked out but they’ve probably kept it to themselves. It’s not really a macho thing to talk about it I guess.

I’ve heard my friends and family talk about other diseases like diabetes and cancer in general, but never specifically prostate cancer. We need to change that.

Where do you draw your strength from?

I draw my strength from my childhood and through having solid goals and sticking to them, and trying by all means to achieve them. I think that’s why I’ve been successful in whatever I’ve chosen to do in life.

How do you keep in control of your health?

I definitely believe diet is one of the most important things when it comes to having a healthy body and mind. I’ve been a vegan now for over two years and feel so much better for it.

How important is sport, in terms of delivering health messages to a wider audience?

Sport is one of the best ways to deliver health messages, especially as a lot of younger people look up to a sportsman of some kind – whether that is a footballer, rugby player or boxer.

And you can’t become an icon in the sporting world if you don’t look after yourself, if you’re unhealthy and if you take drugs or drink too much alcohol. I definitely believe sport is a good way to encourage people to pursue a healthier and more positive path in life.

What advice would you give to other black men?

The fight against prostate cancer is one that we can all win if we stand up to the facts and take action before it is too late. The problem is that not enough of us are talking about the disease.

This disease can be treated if it’s caught early, so don’t let pride get in the way. If you’re black and over 45, talk to your doctor about prostate cancer, don’t wait for any warning signs. Don’t let prostate cancer knock you out.

(Photograph of David Haye © Dennis Morris assisted by Bolade Banjo)

 

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I draw my strength from everything and everyone

Acclaimed photographer Dennis Morris brought our campaign to life

"Once I found out that one in four black men would get prostate cancer, I thought it was important to bring awareness to other black men. I think most people aren’t aware of the facts."

Read Dennis' story