Thomas Kagezi

What’s your experience of prostate cancer?

One day I walked passed Hoxton station and I came across Errol. He was handing out leaflets outside his car garage. He gave me a leaflet about prostate cancer and a black man’s risk, and it made me think that I should go and see my GP and get a PSA test, so I did. Shortly after that I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I’ve gone through treatment and got the all clear in early 2017.

Once I got the leaflet from Errol I was given an opportunity to live. If I didn’t go and see my GP and get tested I would probably be terminally ill or dead - my oncologist told me my cancer was aggressive and would have spread quickly had I not been treated. Knowing your risk gives you a chance to understand how this disease can affect you and to act earlier.

If I didn’t go and see my GP and get tested I would probably be terminally ill or dead

Why do you think it is important to raise awareness of prostate cancer and the risk that black men have? 

It’s so important. My dad had prostate cancer and never told anyone, he just kept it to himself. If he’d have told me, I would’ve known about my increased risk and gone to my GP earlier. Being a black man of African origin it's within our culture, even if you have prostate cancer, to keep it to yourself and not tell anyone - even your family. If nobody speaks about their health, then the knowledge can’t be passed on.

What would your message to black men be?

My message to the black community is to play it safe. Go and speak to your GP.  I had that opportunity to catch my prostate cancer early enough that it could be treated and that gave me a chance to live. If more people know about prostate cancer, then together we can reduce the number of people dying from the disease.