In the UK, 1 in 4 Black
men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in
their life. That’s double the risk for the general male
We’ve always known that Black men were at a higher risk of
getting prostate cancer but
by looking carefully at all the current evidence, we’ve been
able to pin down the lifetime risk to 1 in 4. And we want all Black
men to know about it.
One of the things we’re trying to do is raise awareness of
prostate disease in the Black community in the UK and support
Britain’s two million strong African and African Caribbean
population in recognising both the threat to their prostate health
and being proactive in seeking out advice and support.
Here are four things all Black men should know:
1. Black men have a higher risk of getting prostate cancer
We know there is an increased risk for Black men but we don’t
know why and we don’t yet know exactly what we can do to improve
Black men’s experience of diagnosis and treatment.
If you’re a Black man, do something to help yourself - know your risk, where your
prostate is, possible symptoms
of a prostate problem – and what you
can do if you’re worried.
“It’s your life and the message is know your risk and know your
responsibility. It’s about taking charge of your own health,” says
Cordwell Thomas who heads Prostate Cancer UK’s partnership work
with Britain’s African and African Caribbean communities. “As a
Black man, you’re already in a high risk group, so the worst thing
to do is to ignore the risk. Confront it, speak to your wife,
partner or friends about it, and consult your GP over whether a
test is advisable in your case. Even when you have no actual
symptoms, you are entitled to a test if you are over 50 and have
spoken to your GP”
2. Prostate cancer isn’t a death sentence
It’s natural to hear the word cancer and think ‘that’s it.’ But
most prostate cancer grows slowly to start with and may never cause
any problems. Some men will have prostate cancer that is more
aggressive and needs treatment straight away.
But the good news is that there are treatments to
prevent or delay it spreading outside the prostate gland.
Prostate cancer is something that many men can live with.
3. ”A rectal examination isn’t great – but you can live with
One of the possible tests for a prostate problem is something
called a digital rectal examination (DRE). This is where the doctor
feels your prostate through your back passage. They’re feeling for
any hard or irregular areas and to check if it is enlarged. The DRE
helps the doctor or nurse get the best idea about whether you have
a problem that needs treating.
Men who have had the DRE say that it’s not that bad and doesn’t
Ally was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010 and had a DRE at
his GP surgery. He says, “when I had the DRE I thought - for a few
seconds of discomfort I can live with it. It is something that I
always say to guys - yeah, it is uncomfortable and it is not
brilliant but if it is going to save your life, for a few seconds,
deal with it. Don’t die of embarrassment.”
4. We’re here for you
If you’ve got any concerns about your prostate or prostate
cancer – or just want to find out more – you can call or email our
in confidence. Or, read our leaflet
for African and African Caribbean men.
Or find out what we’re doing in Black communities in the UK and
how you can get
Denton Wilson was diagnosed with prostate cancer at 42
“I had no symptoms at all when I was diagnosed with prostate
cancer. I had recently lost my father to the disease and that
spurred me on to visit the doctor, as I knew the family connection
meant I was more likely to develop the disease. I received
treatment and have been living with prostate cancer for the last
twelve years. My father’s death gave me life and now I use my time
to raise awareness. It’s not always easy for men to talk about
their health, especially in my community, so I give talks and hold
information stands to get the message out there.”