A shocking new figure released in Black History Month by the
health charity Prostate Cancer UK reveals that one in every four
Black men in the UK will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some
point in his lifetime*. That’s double the overall 1-in-8
cradle-to-grave risk faced by all men in the UK.
“It’s like Russian Roulette but with only four players chancing
the bullet. This statistic is a wake-up call to Black men about the
unique danger they face - and we’re warning them to act on it.
Fathers, brothers, partners, sons - with every fourth Black man or
boy in the UK destined to get this potentially fatal disease at
some time, it’s vital that everything possible is done to identify
and catch aggressive cancers early”, said Cordwell Thomas, who
heads Prostate Cancer UK’s partnership with Britain’s African and
African Caribbean communities.
Calculation of the specific lifetime risk to Black men was
undertaken by Prostate Cancer UK as part of its continuing drive to
support the men of Britain’s two million strong African and African
Caribbean population in recognising both the threat to their
prostate health and their responsibility to be proactive in seeking
out advice and support.
Cordwell Thomas continued:
“Many health professionals are not even aware that Black
ancestry is a prostate cancer risk factor. What’s more, Black guys
often don’t claim their rights to health care. They’re not first in
line to see the GP or to call our helpline to discuss concerns like
erectile dysfunction or problems peeing. With so many lives at
risk, we all have to work together to ensure that Black men wise up
to the issue and those affected seek and receive appropriate
With the backing of its major funding partner, Movember,
Prostate Cancer UK provides support to thousands of men facing
prostate cancer and it has consistently emphasised the higher risk
faced by Black men. The urgent need to help Britain’s Black
communities act upon their raised risk means Prostate Cancer UK is
bringing together the community leaders and clinicians who can
encourage Black men to face up to their heightened prostate cancer
risk, engage with it, and take the necessary action.
“It’s your life and the message is know your risk and know your
responsibility. It’s about taking charge of your own health. 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”, says Cordwell Thomas.
Football legend, sports broadcaster and ambassador for Prostate
Cancer UK, Mark Bright said:
“I’m a black man and I am over 50. My risk of being diagnosed
with prostate cancer is significantly higher than that of a white
man of the same age. Now we know that one in four black men
will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some time in his life, we
owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to take responsibility for
our health and understand our risks.
“If you’re a black man and over 50, speak to your GP or call the
Prostate Cancer UK helpline to find out about your risk and
what you can do about it.”
Prostate Cancer UK volunteer Phil Kissi MBE is a survivor of the
“It is terrifying to think that I could so easily have carried
on without knowing anything about prostate cancer despite it being
the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the UK. Luckily my GP
was very supportive when I raised my concerns with him and I caught
the cancer in time to have successful treatment but it saddens me
to think that others may not have this chance.
“Ultimately it is up to us men to respect and take
responsibility for our health but I needed a lot of support from my
friends and family,” he says.
“2013 is the 65th anniversary of the Windrush Landing. It is
ironical that youngsters who arrived on that ship a whole lifetime
ago and have won countless battles over the decades still face a
major public health inequality based on nothing but ethnicity.
That’s why Prostate Cancer UK puts in the research, services and
support that will help more Black men like Phil to survive this
disease,” said Cordwell Thomas.
If you have concerns about prostate cancer or the raised risk to
men of black ancestry please call Prostate Cancer UK's confidential
Helpline on 0800 074 8383 or visit www.prostatecanceruk.org.
The helpline is free to landlines, staffed by specialist nurses,
and open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday with late opening until
8pm on Wednesdays.
Read more about the risk in Black men and find
out more about our work in the Black
For more information, please contact
Meredith Molony at Prostate Cancer UK: 020 3310 7188 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
*Statistic calculated by Prostate Cancer UK using the current
probability method using PHE and ONS data for England and Wales.
Read more about how this was calculated here
About Prostate Cancer UK
Prostate Cancer UK fights to help more men survive prostate
cancer and enjoy a better quality of life. We support men and
provide vital information. We find answers by funding research into
causes and treatments. And we lead change, raising the profile of
the disease and campaigning to improve care.
- Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men in
- Over 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every
- On average, one man dies every hour from prostate cancer in the
- As well as having Black ancestry, risk factors for prostate
cancer are being over 50, or having a family history of the disease
in close male relatives.