Celebrity chef Ken Hom OBE shares his story of prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment.

3 Sep 2020

The celebrity chef, author and TV presenter has been teaching the nation how to cook great Chinese food since the 80s. When he was diagnosed with prostate cancer ten years ago he was shocked, and knew little about the disease at the time. He shares his story so other men know more about the most commonly diagnosed cancer. We chatted to Ken Hom OBE about lockdown, Buddhism and leaving a gift in his Will.

When were you diagnosed with prostate cancer? 

About ten years ago during my annual physical check-up in Bangkok. My PSA was higher than normal, so I was further checked by the urologist who told me to come back two weeks later for a follow-up test. I went to Hong Kong and when I returned I went for another PSA test which showed an even higher PSA. I was immediately given a biopsy which confirmed that I did, indeed, have the beginnings of prostate cancer. It felt unreal as I have always been rather fit and full of energy. A follow-up scan revealed the actual cancer which I could see. It was a bit of a shock. I was lucky I saw a doctor otherwise it could have been missed.

What treatment did you receive? 

Through doctor friends from Bangkok and another friend who had treatment in Japan, I discovered state of the art proton-beam treatment and decided to go for it. I spent two months for a total of 37 treatment which took around 3-4 minutes each time. Now my PSA is quite low and I have had no side effects.

Has your experience of prostate cancer changed your outlook on life at all? 

Well, actually, I am rather philosophical about life. Although I don’t want to die, I accept it as inevitable.... a Buddhist acceptance. 

Did you know much about prostate cancer before you were diagnosed? 

Only vaguely. Being aware and knowing your risk is very important. Sharing my story was quite personal, but if I could save one life it was worth sharing. Awareness is key. We tend, especially as men, to be less aware of cancer than women.

I know that by leaving a gift in my Will I’ll be funding life-saving research and helping future generations of men live long and live well.

- Ken Hom OBE


Why did you want to get involved with the charity? 

By hoping that my story might save lives. I want to show that a personal gesture can help a worthy cause and I hope that I can be an example to others. 

I didn’t think that prostate cancer would happen to me, but it did, and I know I’m very lucky to still be here today. I know that by leaving a gift in my Will I’ll be funding life-saving research into better tests and treatments for prostate cancer, and helping future generations of men live long and live well.

To anyone considering leaving a gift in their Will to Prostate Cancer UK, I’d simply say do it! Remember, that we come into this world with nothing and we will leave with nothing, so give! It is only good karma.

This Remember a Charity week, pass on something wonderful by leaving a gift in your Will. After you've looked after family and friends, like Ken, you can influence the world you’ll leave behind by remembering the causes that matter to you. We can help you have your Will written for free.

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