This summer Prostate Cancer UK is going on tour to reach Black men and make more people aware of the higher risk of prostate cancer. Nick Wright investigates why, what we're going to do and how you can get involved.
Did you know that 1 in 4 Black men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives? Well earlier this year we went out onto the streets of East London, with Men United member Errol McKellar, to see if Black men knew their risk and that stat. The results were shocking.
It was astounding to hear people's lack of knowledge about a disease which is the most common cancer in men. But the film we created was just a small group of men, what about a bigger sample? According to a YouGov study we carried out last year, only 8% of Black men knew their risk. If more people knew, they could speak to their friends and family, talk to their GP or find out more. Lives could be saved.
We wanted to do something big this summer, to reach Black men about their risk. But we knew it might be difficult for them to come to us. As the video shows, if Black men don't know about their risk, about prostate cancer or even what a prostate is, why would they come to us? We had to take the message to them, where they are.
So what better way to do that then with a big branded double decker bus?
And we're going to visit the locations with the highest Black populations, to spread the word and get people talking about prostate cancer. Here's our tour dates.
We'd love for you to join us on tour so if you'd like to volunteer, you can find out more here.
You'd be joining a host of celebrities who've pledged their support to Men United and encouraging Black guys to get to grips with their risk of prostate cancer. Former England striker, Les Ferdinand; Xtra Factor presenter, Melvin Odoom; Jamaican chef and Reggae Reggae sauce mastermind Levi Roots, and England’s first black footballer, Viv Anderson are just a handful of the famous faces who are behind our campaign.
Our African and African Caribbean Project Manager Tony Wong said "We’ve known for some time that Black men have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer, and whilst we are still trying to understand why, raising awareness is a vital first step in challenging this injustice. We need the community to get behind the campaign and help us to raise awareness, as ultimately better awareness leads to early diagnosis which in turn leads to better outcomes for men".
That's why we do what we do, and why men like like Errol are our inspiration (pictured below with football managers Martin Ling, left, and Harry Redknapp, right).
Errol was diagnosed with prostate cancer five years ago and freely admits he broke down when he heard the news and was told he could die. But since then his drive and passion has helped so many people, as he's held charity football matches, been on TV, radio and worked tirelessly to make sure other men know their risk. That's why we made him face of our posters and our leaflets promoting the tour.
You, like Errol, could do something amazing too to show everyone that men are worth fighting for.