Courtney Pine, Gladstone Small and Paul Barber are the latest black celebrities to join our Stronger Knowing More campaign, after our worrying new poll raises fears of a fatal lack of awareness among doctors and patients about black men's higher risk of prostate cancer.
Black men in the UK have double the risk of developing prostate cancer compared to other men, yet only 51% of GPs in the UK are aware of their heightened risk – according to new research released today by Prostate Cancer UK. Even more worryingly, almost a third of those doctors were located in regions with large black populations.
Our national survey of over 400 GPs revealed only 7% said that they always initiated conversations about prostate cancer with black men. They were also more likely to instigate such discussions with men with a known family history of the disease, despite race being an almost equally dangerous risk factor.
One-in-four black men in the UK will get prostate cancer, compared to one-in-eight other men. But with 86% of black men admitting they were unaware of their increased risk in our recent poll, we're concerned that a lack of awareness on both sides of the patient-doctor relationship means black men across the country are missing out on vital conversations that could save their lives.
“GPs in the UK today face growing pressure to start conversations with patients regarding an ever-growing list of medical conditions and, as a result, conversations about prostate cancer risk are all too often slipping through the net,” says Tony Wong, head of Prostate Cancer UK's Men at Risk programme.
“So it’s so important that black men in particular take the first step to find out about their risk of prostate cancer and proactively speak to their GP about whether they should have a PSA blood test.”
The PSA test is the first step towards diagnosis and black men are encouraged to start speaking to their GP having one from the age of 45 – five years earlier than other men. But nearly half of the GPs we surveyed cited time pressure or the need to prioritise other health concerns as the main barriers to discussing the PSA blood test.
“A black man faces approximately the same risk of prostate cancer as a man who has a family history of the disease, but awareness of the two risk factors amongst GPs is drastically different,” says Tony. “Whether you’re a black man over 45, a GP, or a relative of a man at risk, we can all play our part by familiarising ourselves with the facts and making sure more black men are diagnosed and treated early, before it’s too late.”
The survey results come as we launch the latest phase of our Stronger Knowing More billboard campaign, unveiling a slew of new, black British male icons lending their support to the awareness drive.
Ex-England cricketer Gladstone Small, EastEnders star Rudolph Walker, Full Monty actor Paul Barber (pictured above) and British jazz musician Courtney Pine have joined Linford Christie and Benjamin Zephaniah to be photographed for the campaign by the highly-acclaimed photographer, Dennis Morris. The adverts will appear across London and the West Midlands over the next few weeks.