Chuka Umunna has called on black men to confront prostate cancer in light of shocking new data revealed today, this Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness Month.
New data from Prostate Cancer UK revealed that black men face double the risk of getting prostate cancer compared to white men.
The research from the men’s health charity revealed that 1 in 4 black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and 1 in 12 will die from it.
The shocking report also revealed that 86% of black men are unaware of their heightened danger.
Streatham MP Mr Umunna said: “These statistics are incredibly concerning.
“As a black man myself I have had to wise up to the fact that I not only have a much higher risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer than a white man the same age, I am also in greater danger of dying from it.”
The poll released this Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness Month exposes a widespread lack of awareness of both the disease and the gland itself among black men in the UK.
Data from Prostate Cancer UK shows that 92% of black men don’t know what the sex gland does for them, 62% don’t know where it is on their body and 19% are unaware they even have a prostate.
Labour MP Mr Umunna has pledged to support Prostate Cancer UK tackle the disease that kills one man every hour in the UK.
He said: “The fact that so many black men are totally oblivious to the danger they face from this killer disease is alarming and it must change.
“It’s time we all start taking responsibility for our health – not just for own sakes but for the sake of our sons and grandsons as well.
“Ignoring prostate cancer won’t make it go away which is why we must wise up to our risk and act on it.”
Black men not only face an increased risk of prostate cancer, they are also more likely to develop the disease as a younger age.
Therefore, black men are encouraged to have a PSA blood test — the first step towards a diagnosis of the disease — from the age of 45 rather than 50 which is the recommended age for other ethnicities.
Tony Wong, Men at Risk programme manager at Prostate Cancer UK, said; “Through our work we know that too many black men are shying away from potentially life-saving conversations with their family and friends about prostate cancer and this must stop.
“Prostate cancer doesn’t have to be a death sentence and more often than not the disease can be successfully treated if it is caught early.
“Awareness of risk is the first step to saving a life.
“So if you are black and over the age of 45, speak to your doctor and encourage your fathers, brothers, uncles and friends to do the same. Don’t die of embarrassment.
“It is still not clear why black men face a higher than average risk of the disease which is why Prostate Cancer UK is funding two key pieces of research in this area to help find the answers.”
Godfrey Fletcher from Wolverhampton was diagnosed with prostate cancer in September 2015 at the age of 47.
He said: “After being diagnosed with prostate cancer I found out that I wasn’t the only one in my family.
“Not only had my grandfather died from the disease, my father had been living with it for some time but preferred not to speak about it.
“Thankfully my prostate cancer was picked up at an early stage and I should make a full recovery but this notion of avoiding conversations about a disease that effects one in four of us must end.
“I have two sons – both of them now know that they face a higher risk – not just because of our ethnicity but also because of our family history.
“In the future if they are unlucky enough to develop the disease at least it will be picked up at an early stage when something can be done about it.
“That’s why talking about prostate cancer is so important.”
For further information on the increased risk of prostate cancer in black men visit http://prostatecanceruk.org/prostate-information/are-you-at-risk/a-black-mans-risk