EastEnders’ Alfie Moon diagnosed with prostate cancer in new storyline
We’ve worked with the BBC and actor Shane Richie on the story, which will raise vital awareness of the most common cancer in men.
One of the nation’s favourite soaps, EastEnders, has aired a new prostate cancer storyline, which sees fan-favourite Alfie Moon (played by actor Shane Richie) diagnosed with the most common cancer in men.
The story, which began playing out on screen on Tuesday 15 August, will raise vital awareness of the disease and aims to spark a national conversation, encouraging thousands more men to check their risk and speak to their GPs about prostate cancer.
Below we will be keeping you up to date with all the latest from Alfie and Albert Square, and with information and support for those looking to learn more about their risk, how to test for prostate cancer, or seeking support and guidance for living with or after prostate cancer.
Tuesday 30 January
Alfie is mortified about his urinary incontinence. Linda begs him to open up to Ian and Billy about his prostate cancer diagnosis. Alfie finally opens up and his shocked friends vow to be there for him.
Prostate cancer doesn't just have a physical impact. It can affect you emotionally in all kinds of ways. Men may go through a whole range of emotions - from shock, fear or anger to worrying about their identify and feeling less like a man. These feelings can sometimes change quite quickly too.
Monday 29 January
Having undergone a prostatectomy and hormone therapy, Alfie now reaches his last radiotherapy session. While sitting in the hospital waiting room, Alfie reassures a man just beginning his treatment that it doesn’t hurt, but says there can be some side effects. Later in the episode, these begin to show for Alfie – particularly trouble with urinary incontinence.
More than 3 million people in the UK experience urinary incontinence, the unintentional loss of urine. This includes many men following treatment for prostate cancer. It isn’t something that should be swept under the rug. Your doctor or nurse can suggest treatments and lifestyle changes to help manage the side effects.
Wednesday 15 November
Alfie starts to experience tiredness after beginning hormone therapy.
Like all treatments, hormone therapy can cause side effects. But the treatment can affect men in different ways and some have fewer side effects than others. This doesn’t mean that the treatment is any less effective.
Tuesday 14 November
After seeing his oncologist, Alfie starts taking his hormone tablets. He shares with Linda that the side effects include mood swings, insomnia, tiredness and affected sex drive. Despite being reluctant to, Alfie shares his news with his son, Tommy, but assures him it's treatable.
When you’re close to someone with prostate cancer, the diagnosis can affect you just as much as them. As well as affecting how you feel, it may also change your relationship with them as your plans and priorities change. We have support information for loved ones and our Specialist Nurses are here to answer any questions.
Monday 13 November
Alfie returns from Spain and goes to his hospital appointment with Linda. The doctor tells Aflie that his PSA blood test results have come back higher than they hoped, meaning some cancer cells were left behind after the surgery. He’s advised to begin hormone therapy first, followed by radiotherapy. The doctor reassures Alfie that this type of cancer responds well to this form of treatment.
Hormone therapy is a common prostate cancer treatment, and as featured in EastEnders, can be used in conjunction with other treatments, such as radiotherapy.
Learn about how hormone therapy treats prostate cancer, different methods such as injections and implants, and possible side effects.
Alfie tells Phil he has stage two prostate cancer and is having a prostatectomy that day. Alfie admits that his plans to travel to Spain are a lie to cover up his hospital visit and the time he will need after to rest and recover. He says he lied to protect Kat and his children.
Phil arrives at Kat’s wedding whilst Alfie arrives at the hospital for the procedure. Whilst Kat marries Phil, taxi driver Mitch Baker pulls up outside and accidently tells Linda Carter he took Alfie to the hospital, rather than the airport for his flight. Linda goes to the hospital and talks to Alfie before his operation, discussing his recovery process, including the effect of a catheter, and the possibility of erectile dysfunction. Alfie tries to make light of the situation, but Lina tells him it is ok to be scared. He opens up about his concerns about death, what he will leave behind, and how he will be remembered. With tears in his eyes, he is then taken through for the procedure.
The next time we see Alfie he is in a hospital bed coming round from anaesthetic. Linda is at his bedside and he thanks her for staying. She tells him the operation went smoothly and Alfie starts to cry. Linda tells him everything will be alright as the credits roll.
This is the first time we hear Alfie has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. A diagnosis can leave you feeling scared, worried, stressed or even angry. Your feelings may change over time. There’s no right way to feel and everyone reacts in their own way.
In this episode Alfie talks about having a prostatectomy for stage two prostate cancer. This treatment option aims to remove the whole prostate and the prostate cancer cells inside it - while keeping the chances of side effects as low as possible.
On the day of Kat's wedding, she confronts Alfie about his secret phone calls, and he continues to hide his visits to the GP and hospital by pretending he has been booking flights and visiting a travel agent.
In the final moments of the episode, as Alfie and Phil discuss Phil's commitment to Kat, Alfie asks Phil to look after his family for him as he may not be around much longer. Looking shocked and upset, Phil questions if Alfie has lied to all of them about his cancer diagnosis. Alfie does not respond as the episode ends.
Hear more about how actor Shane Ritchie prepared for Alfie's prostate cancer storyline tonight (20 September) at 7pm on The One Show on BBC One.
He's joining us on #TheOneShow to discuss his powerful storyline on @BBCEastenders around prostate cancer 💚— BBC The One Show (@BBCTheOneShow) September 20, 2023
It's actor, @RealShaneRichie! 🤩 And if you have a question for him,👇 let us know below or email [email protected] 📩 pic.twitter.com/0cZ7ZjI2tL
Phil continues to put pressure on Alfie to take his health seriously and shares that he is going to speak to his GP about a test, as his dad Eric died from prostate cancer.
A family history of prostate cancer increases your risk of being diagnosed with the disease. You can find out more about risk factors here, and you can check your risk in just 30 seconds by using our risk checker.
Alfie struggles to process the news that he may have prostate cancer and hides the news from his loved ones.
The journey to a prostate cancer diagnosis can be a confusing and overwhelming time and you may experience a range of emotions. It’s important to remember that everyone reacts differently, and there is no right or wrong way to feel. Your own feelings may change daily, hourly, or even minute to minute.
It's normal to feel like you have to be strong and protect your loved ones, but talking about your feelings and working through your emotions can help to lower stress levels and improve your emotional, mental and physical health.
At the hospital, Alfie’s worst fears are confirmed – his tests indicate that there is a high chance of prostate cancer and he’ll need an MRI and biopsy to confirm.
If your GP thinks your PSA level is higher than it should be for your own situation, they might decide you need to see a specialist at the hospital.
In many hospitals you may have a special type of MRI scan, called a multi-parametric MRI (mpMRI) scan, before having a biopsy. In some hospitals, you may have a biopsy first, followed by an MRI scan to see if any cancer found inside the prostate has spread.
This can be a confusing and overwhelming time for men and their loved ones, and our Specialist Nurses are here to support you.
Alfie Moon visits the hospital after being attacked and blood is found in his urine. Following a CT (computed tomography) scan, the doctors advise Alfie that this may be a sign of prostate cancer, and more tests are needed.
📞 If you're concerned about prostate cancer or need support, our Specialist Nurses are here for you.— Prostate Cancer UK (@ProstateUK) August 15, 2023
Call them on 0800 074 8383 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm).
Find out more: https://t.co/DJqH884aQT https://t.co/ivRUMgkLcz
This is the first episode of Alfie’s prostate cancer storyline. Here’s what our Head of Improving Care, Amy Rylance, had to say about working with the soap on Alfie's story: “It’s been a pleasure working alongside EastEnders on their prostate cancer storyline, and we salute the BBC for approaching Prostate Cancer UK to ensure the narrative is as close to real life as possible.
“Every man’s experience of prostate cancer is unique, and it’s so important for viewers to be given accurate information about the disease. It’s been a privilege to provide insight into Alfie Moon’s journey with prostate cancer, ensuring an authentic story is told every step of the way. Introducing Shane to one of our supporters affected by prostate cancer gave him the opportunity to understand what it’s like to experience the disease first hand.”
“Including prostate cancer in a major character’s storyline on a national soap presents a huge opportunity to raise awareness of the disease, and we’re really looking forward to seeing the impact this has on the public."
Towards the end of the episode, the doctor refers Alfie for further tests, which include a PSA blood test. This test measures the amount of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. It’s normal to have a small amount of PSA in your blood, and the amount rises slightly as you get older and your prostate gets bigger.
A raised PSA level may suggest you have a problem with your prostate, but not necessarily cancer. The PSA blood test is the best first step to finding out if you have prostate cancer, and so we urge all men at higher risk - that is men who are over 50, Black and over 45, or have a father or brother who has had prostate cancer to speak to their GP about the pros and cons.