Black icons rally together to confront prostate cancer risk in black men

Legendary black stars from the worlds of sport, politics and the arts have joined forces in a show of strength against the most common cancer in black men. The celebrities are calling on black men to confront their increased risk of prostate cancer, and break down any longstanding taboos that might prevent them from speaking out about the disease.

Those backing the campaign include EastEnders actor Rudolph Walker, former WBA World Heavyweight champion David Haye, Olympic gold medallist Linford Christie, and saxophonist Courtney Pine, as well as men affected by prostate cancer. They have all been captured in an exclusive set of images by the highly-acclaimed photographer, Dennis Morris, to get black men across the country talking about their risk of prostate cancer and taking action.

One in four black men in the UK will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and one in twelve will die from the disease – double the risk faced by white men. Black men are also more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer at a younger age than men of other ethnicities, but an alarming 86% are oblivious to the increased danger they face, and the disease is still widely regarded as a taboo subject within many families. The celebrated black icons are leading the charge as part of Prostate Cancer UK’s Stronger Knowing More campaign to change these statistics for the better.

Rudolph Walker, 78, Actor

My awareness of prostate cancer is really something very close to home, my uncle died of prostate cancer in America, an uncle that I was very fond of. It was a very painful experience for me, so when I was approached quite a few years after to be involved with Prostate Cancer UK, I just didn’t hesitate. But also, to coincide with that, I encouraged EastEnders to do a storyline about prostate cancer, which they did in 2014 with the character Stan Carter played by Timothy West –  that raised quite a lot of awareness.

One in four black men will get prostate cancer – those statistics are not encouraging.  My background, coming from the Caribbean, we have a mentality where we don’t talk about anything to do with our private parts. It’s to do with our pride and being macho. Prevention is better than cure and if you capture something like prostate cancer early, then you stand a better chance of beating it.

To find out more about the risk of prostate cancer in black men visit: www.strongerknowingmore.org

Jolynne De Souza

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