Men like Errol are so grateful they were made aware of the risks of prostate cancer. Now they’re sharing their stories to pass on knowledge that could help save lives, and they want you to join them.
Because the pandemic has made it harder for men to access a GP, it’s likely that thousands more cases of prostate cancer have gone undetected. This September, we’re asking for your help to find men at risk of prostate cancer.
What’s your experience of prostate cancer?
My connection with prostate cancer started in 2010. My wife was complaining about my snoring, so she made me an appointment with the doctor. I went to the doctor and whilst I sat in the reception waiting, I picked up a leaflet from Prostate Cancer UK. I read about the PSA test and thought I should probably have it done. I spoke to the receptionist to book an appointment to do the test but she said: "Mr McKellar, the test only takes 10 minutes and we can do this now for you." Little did I know that those 10 minutes were going to change the rest of my life.Check your risk in 30 seconds
Two weeks after, I got a call from my doctor who asked me to come back and do another blood test. I did the test, then a further two weeks after that I was asked to come in for a biopsy, followed by a scan. My doctor then sat me down and said my prostate was covered in cancer. I ran out of the room, went and sat in the car and I think the word 'cancer' hit me then. I just burst into tears. Fortunately my cancer was picked up early so now I’m determined to raise awareness of the disease.
Raising awareness and getting the message out is so important to me, particularly with black men. I often give awareness talks in my community. For me, if one person listens and takes onboard what I'm saying, then it's worth it.
My message to black men is quite simple really. Know your risk, speak to your GP and spread the word to others.
Why is it important to talk about your health?
Prostate cancer wasn’t a topic I even knew about, until I picked up that leaflet. And what’s even more ironic, is I found out later down the line, after my diagnosis, that my dad also had prostate cancer but he never said a word. When I tried to speak to my dad about it, he sort of brushed it off and said, "Oh I had that about five years ago".
For me, this is something which needs to be spoken about. Because if someone in your family has prostate cancer, unfortunately that means someone else is likely to get it too. If you don’t talk about it, someone in your family might not know the importance of why they need to get tested. I feel I have a responsibility to raise awareness to not only my family but other men.
What advice would you give to other black men?
My advice would be to talk and share. The information and knowledge you share with other people could help save a life without you even realising it.
My message to black men is quite simple really. Know your risk, speak to your GP and spread the word to others.Check your risk now
(Photograph of Errol McKellar © Dennis Morris assisted by Bolade Banjo)