What’s your experience of prostate cancer?
My friend and my dad were both diagnosed with prostate cancer and kept telling me I need to get myself checked. I had no symptoms at all, but I went to my doctor for advice and he said that because I’m black and my dad has it, I’m more at risk. So I had a PSA test and from there I was sent for a biopsy. I then saw a consultant and he diagnosed me with localised prostate cancer. I’m glad I went and got checked because I caught the cancer at the early stage.
Why are you supporting our campaign?
Because I wish it was around at the time I was going through my battle with cancer. I feel like it is part of my purpose now to play my role in getting the message across to other people about their risk, so they can catch cancer early.
Let’s just talk about prostate cancer and get rid of all the taboo.
Where do you draw your strength from?
I get my strength from music. It was my therapy when I was having treatment, as it took my mind off what I was going through at the time. It also brought me closer to my artists and people in my industry, which encouraged me to keep going. When you hear those three words 'you have cancer', it’s like your world has come crashing down - I felt completely numb. You have to try and pick yourself up and go again. I honestly believe music stopped me from being depressed; it relaxed me and gave me something else to focus on.
What advice would you give to other black men?
Let’s get a conversation going. Let’s just talk about prostate cancer and get rid of all the taboo. We need to build together to get the right messages across to other people out there who might have an increased risk.
I’d also say it’s important to take control of your health and be proactive. For me personally, I’ve got two sons and I want to play my part in their lives and be around for them for as long as I can. Because of my experience with prostate cancer, I also now know the risk to my sons, so it’s important they are aware too so they can get checked at an early age.
(Photograph of Godfrey Fletcher © Dennis Morris assisted by Bolade Banjo)