Powell warns fans about prostate cancer
- Tags: Football
As part of our Times Christmas
Appeal partnership, reporter Alex Rowe spoke to Charlton Athletic
manager, Chris Powell, about the cause and the message we need
football fans to listen to.
Chris Powell sees his position as Charlton Athletic manager as
being about more than just delivering results, which is why he
agreed to become an ambassador for Prostate Cancer UK to help to
deliver a vital message to black men in the UK.
In partnership with The Football League, Prostate Cancer UK has
been running a “Men United v Prostate Cancer” campaign to help to
make supporters aware of a disease that kills one man every hour
and encourage them to be checked.
Powell’s message is aimed specifically at black men, who are
particularly susceptible to the disease. The latest figures show
that one in
four black men will develop prostate cancer, compared with one
in eight of the general male population. As one of three black
managers in the top four divisions, Powell wanted to use his
position to help to educate men about the dangers.
“It is a remarkable statistic and it goes to show why we are
raising awareness for black men,” Powell said. “There are certain
medical issues that just affect black men and if I can help someone
— just one person — to go and get himself checked because he didn’t
know about it before, then I will be doing my job .
“I recognise how the football club is the focal point of
people’s lives. They listen to the players, they listen to the
manager and I need to represent them. People do take notice of what
the manager says and what he writes about.
“It is about time we started talking about it and men getting
checked, because it is serious. You may feel uncomfortable about
doing the test or talking about it, but you will feel more
comfortable knowing you have caught it early or knowing that you
“We need to raise more awareness of
prostate cancer. It has been clever to raise it in football and
this is a great idea by The Times and by The Football League.”
Although men tend not to be checked for prostate cancer until
they are in their fifties, Powell believes it is important to
educate the teenagers he works with at Charlton and all those in
the wider community of all ages.
“I have a duty of care for all my players in the squad and the
youth-team squad. It doesn’t matter what colour they are, but if we
are talking about young black men, then they need to know,” Powell
“It may be them telling a member of their family who hadn’t been
in a position to get information about it. You don’t want to
frighten them but you want to make them aware. As they become older
and more responsible, then at least they know about it.
“When I was their age — 17, 18 — I would not have had a clue
about most cancers. It is something we have to take really
seriously, because we are losing a lot of people who could have
been caught earlier.”
Nobby Stiles, the England World Cup winner, and Ray
Clemence, the former England goalkeeper, have been diagnosed
with prostate cancer. It makes no allowance for a man’s fitness or
“You have someone like Clemence who has suffered and it is proof
that no matter who you are, it can affect you,” Powell said. “I
know of one or two people who have had family members pass away
from prostate cancer.
“I know Ray’s son, Stephen, and it is a case of ‘can we keep
this message alive now?’ Not just back it for a season. It should
be an ongoing campaign.”
Clemence, the former Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper,
was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005 and was successfully
treated. Although the cancer returned last year, Clemence is now in
remission and a keen supporter of The Football League’s partnership
with Prostate Cancer UK.
“Men don’t like to think that anything is wrong with them,
especially sportsmen, and if you have a slight problem ‘down there’
it will never be at the forefront of your mind that it could be
cancer,” Clemence said.
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