Campaign launched urging men to know their risk of prostate cancer

A campaign has been launched to encourage more men to talk about cancer, especially those in the Black community.

It comes after a dad-of-six says a prostate exam saved his life - and talking about it saved his friend.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer that affects men in the UK. Gilly Morgan, 56, was diagnosed in 2014, he was initially scared of undergoing a prostate exam, which involves a doctor inserting a finger up the rectum to feel the size and texture of the prostate.

He told Granada Reports: "When he said [he needed to do the examination], I said, 'Doctor, go ahead', because something wasn't right and It was the quickest way of finding out."Those two fingers saved my life. I'm here to this day because those two fingers saved my life."

Credit: Liverpool Echo

Gilly is among the one in four Black men that will get prostate cancer at some point in their life.

He spoke at a prostate cancer awareness event, 'Discuss your risk', at the Kuumba Imani Centre in Toxteth on Thursday, 3 March, headed up by Cheshire and Merseyside cancer alliance and prostate cancer uk.A key aim of the event was to raise awareness of the cancer among Black men, who are twice as likely men in the general to have prostate cancer.

Gilly was treated and survived, but his dad was one of the many who died not knowing they have the most common cancer among men.His dad denied he had prostate cancer, even after Gilly read his medical records.The 57-year-old said: "I asked my dad if he had prostate cancer and he looked me in the face and denied it.

"In the Black community, and not just in the Black community, but across the board, men in general don't go to the doctors, and they definitely don't talk about issues regarding their private parts."We're too proud for that, and that's why a lot of men die and I go to a lot of Funerals. They're too proud to go and get advice."

Credit: Liverpool Echo

Even when Gilly looked for a Black man who had had prostate cancer who he could speak to for advice, he could not find any, so he himself decided to speak up.His childhood friend Michael Crowe was shocked when Gilly said he had prostate cancer, and decided to look into it for himself and get his prostate checked.One of Michael's routine prostate biopsies detected potentially cancerous cells.Robotic arms were used to remove Michael's prostate, leaving four nearly invisible, pinprick scars on his stomach.An estimated 14,000 people currently have undiagnosed and untreated prostate cancer, with most men over 50, and Black men over 45, more at risk.An organiser of the event, Modupe Dosunmu, said she was delighted to see people learning and talking more about prostate cancer.He said: "Black men aged 45 and above, please understand your risk. Check your risk out by having a chat with your GP."You can actually go on our Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance website and use the risk checker tool, which helps to tell you about your risk of prostate cancer, and also guides you in making an informed decision."Please, please, don't bury your head in the sand. Treatment is possible. The key thing is that the cancer is discovered early and on time. You can be treated."

Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer

  • Frequent urination

  • Weak or interrupted urine flow or the need to strain to empty the bladder

  • The urge to urinate frequently at night

  • Blood in the urine

  • New onset of erectile dysfunction

  • Pain or burning during urination - which is much less common

What should you do if you are worried?

  • There is no way of knowing if you have prostate cancer without visiting your doctor, as most men with early prostate cancer don’t have any symptoms.

  • If you do have symptoms they can be caused by other things.

  • You can’t check for prostate cancer yourself.

  • Speak to your GP if you're over 50, or over 45 if you have a family history of prostate cancer or are a black man, even if you don't have any symptoms