“Beating” Prostate Cancer

  • 30 September 2011

Reggae poet, Linton Kwesi Johnson, is one of the 37,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK every year. Linton's early diagnosis in April last year was made possible because he was aware of the disease and spoke to his GP, which gave him the best chance of being successfully treated. Now, he is urging other African Caribbean men to start thinking about their health too.

Linton, 59, first heard about prostate cancer ten years ago when his friend was diagnosed. He didn't know that in the UK, African Caribbean men are three times more likely to develop prostate cancer than white men of the same age. It wasn't until he had to attend regular appointments for his own treatment that he really understood the impact the disease has on this community.

"I was sitting in the hospital one day and I saw this guy walk in that I knew from my school days and I said, "What are you doing here?" He said, "Well, my doctor told me to come and have some tests for prostate cancer." Another time I was visiting the clinic, I saw a guy who lives around the corner, again I said, "What are you doing here?" He said, "Oh, I had the prostate." He didn't even use the word 'cancer'.

"I was hearing stories all over the place about people having prostate cancer, so clearly it is something very common amongst black men of my age, and so it makes sense for anyone who falls into this group to take action and have a chat with their doctor if they are concerned about prostate cancer."

Find out more about prostate cancer in African Caribbean men.