'Knowing my cancer risk saved my life': Wiltshire man warns others to be aware

  • Watch Caron Bell's report

A Wiltshire man who survived prostate cancer is warning other black men they are twice as likely as white men to develop the disease, and says his own awareness saved his life.

Alphonso Archer, 58, from Calne, was diagnosed in 2016.

He is among the 1 in 4 black men who develop the disease, compared to 1 in 8 white men. (For Asian men it is fewer still).

Alphonso had been having regular blood tests because his father already had prostate cancer and believes his awareness of his increased risk, and family history, was crucial in getting an early diagnosis.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men, but a recent survey of 2,000 men by GenesisCare and Prostate Cancer Research found that less than a quarter of black men (24%) were aware they were at greater risk.

The reason for their increased risk is still not fully understood by scientists. Men over 50, and men with a father or brother with prostate cancer, are also more likely to develop it.

The NHS offers a blood test (known as a PSA test) to black men over the age of 45 to check for prostate cancer, and to other men over 50.

However, it isn't deemed reliable enough to be introduced in a national screening programme.

Prostate cancer: symptoms to look out for

  • Needing to pee more frequently, often during the night

  • Needing to rush to the toilet

  • Difficulty in starting to pee (hesitancy)

  • Straining or taking a long time while peeing

  • Weak flow

  • Feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully

  • Blood in urine or blood in semen

Alphonso's prostate cancer was successfully treated with hormone therapy and radiotherapy, but he will continue to have PSA tests for the rest of his life.

He has since changed career, from corporate sales to music therapy, saying that surviving cancer persuaded him to follow his dream.

For more information on prostate cancer, click here.

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