Gilly

What is your experience of prostate cancer?

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer back in 2014. Luckily it was caught early enough and I decided to have a prostatectomy. My father had prostate cancer many years ago, but I didn’t actually find that out until I was diagnosed. My father said he was all clear from prostate cancer when I confronted him about it, but he sadly passed away in 2016.

Why are you supporting the Stronger Knowing More campaign?

For two reasons – because of my experience with prostate cancer and because my father had the disease and suffered a lot with it. My uncle also died of prostate cancer, as well as some of my father’s friends. In the black community, especially Afro-Caribbeans, a lot of men shy away from talking about medical issues. But prostate cancer affects one in four black men, so awareness is important.

A lot of black guys, like myself, think they’re invincible. We go to the gym, we try and keep fit, we talk about work, friends, relationships, but we don’t talk about a pain in our leg or a change in our body. A lot of men die because of staying ignorant rather than opening up and going to see their doctor.

Do you think there’s a reason black men don’t talk about prostate cancer?

I think a lot of black men don’t even know about it. Talking about your prostate problems is taboo, a lot of black men don’t see it as an area which should be investigated by a doctor because of where it is and how you’re examined. 

A lot of men die because of staying ignorant rather than opening up and going to see their doctor.

What would be your message to the black community?

Don’t suffer in silence and don’t be embarrassed about having pains in your body that you’re not used to. Go and speak to your GP or speak to your partner.