Cancer ‘wake-up call’ for black men
Thursday 17th October 2013, 12:11AM BST.
One in four black men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime – double the figure for all men.
Prostate Cancer UK said the calculation was based on genetic risk and the fact that black men did not always approach their GP with symptoms.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and over 40,000 are diagnosed with the disease every year in the UK.
There are currently more than a quarter of a million men living with the disease or after the disease, and it kills more than 10,000 annually.
When symptoms occur, they include a weak urine flow, n eeding to urinate more often, especially at night, and a feeling that the bladder has not emptied properly.
Some men have d ifficulty starting to pass urine while others dribble after they have finished.
Other men need to go to the toilet urgently.
The chance of developing prostate cancer in a lifetime is one in eight for all men, rising to one in four for black men.
Cordwell Thomas, who works with Britain’s two million people from African and African Caribbean communities for the charity, said: “It’s like Russian roulette but with only four players chancing the bullet.
“This statistic is a wake-up call to black men about the unique danger they face – and we’re warning them to act on it.
“Fathers, brothers, partners, sons – with every fourth black man or boy in the UK destined to get this potentially fatal disease at some time, it’s vital that everything possible is done to identify and catch aggressive cancers early.”
Mr Thomas said many health professionals were not even aware that black ancestry was a prostate cancer risk factor.
“What’s more, black guys often don’t claim their rights to health care,” he said.
“They’re not first in line to see the GP or to call our helpline to discuss concerns like erectile dysfunction or problems peeing.
“With so many lives at risk, we all have to work together to ensure that black men wise up to the issue and those affected seek and receive appropriate healthcare.”
He said men aged over 50 were entitled to an NHS prostate cancer test even if they had no symptoms.
Former footballer and sports pundit, Mark Bright, said: “I’m a black man and I am over 50.
“My risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer is significantly higher than that of a white man of the same age.
“Now we know that one in four black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some time in his life, we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to take responsibility for our health and understand our risks.
“If you’re a black man and over 50, speak to your GP or call the Prostate Cancer UK helpline to find out about your risk and what you can do about it.”