Black men unaware of their greater risk of prostate cancer

Even though prostate cancer is the mostly commonly diagnosed cancer for men in the UK, over three quarters of all men (76%) are unaware of the potential signs – and a quarter (24%) of black men are aware that they have a greater risk of being diagnosed.

Early prostate cancer does not usually have any symptoms. You may start to notice some changes as the tumour grows bigger and starts to press on the urethra.

Symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty in passing urine
  • Feeling your bladder hasn’t fully emptied
  • Weak urine flow
  • Urinating more often particularly at night
  • Sudden urges to urinate
  • Blood in your urine or semen

Talking about cancer to friends and family could be vital, according to research by GenesisCare and the charity Prostate Cancer Research. The research shows that if you speak about cancer, you are four times as likely to recognise the symptoms (31% vs 8%) and more than twice as likely to get an early cancer diagnosis (83% vs 43%). This is important as we know that early diagnosis leads to better long-term outcomes.

But having a conversation about prostate cancer isn’t easy for a lot of men – 2 in 10 feel too uncomfortable to talk to their friends and family about it (21%). Men can feel embarrassed to discuss it because of the symptoms (46%) or they don’t want people to worry about them (16%).

Olympian and prostate cancer campaigner Linford Christie OBE wants to normalise conversations around prostate cancer. He says the research shows the positive impact that these conversations can have when it comes to recognising symptoms and getting tested as soon as possible.

According to the research, a third (30%) of black men who struggle to discuss prostate problems would be more likely to do so if they heard others talking about it more often. Men would be more comfortable if they had guidance from a medical professional on how to talk about it (38%) or if they saw people discuss it more often on TV (27%).

Although they may struggle to have conversations about prostate cancer themselves, three quarters (76%) of the men surveyed said that if their friend was diagnosed with cancer, they would want them to feel they could talk to them about it. Men are keen to offer support (62%), the reassurance of someone to talk to (57%) and the knowledge their friend can ask for help if they need it (55%).

Naomi Elster, Head of Research at Prostate Cancer Research, says more research needs to be done to understand why black men are at a higher risk of prostate cancer, how they can be treated more effectively and what the real-life impacts of cancer are in that community. This year Prostate Cancer Research will invest in research which aims to improve the situation for black men.

GenesisCare and Prostate Cancer Research have created a video to raise awareness of the incidence of prostate cancer in black men, help people understand the symptoms and encourage men to have conversations about any concerns.

If you’re concerned about symptoms, make an appointment to see your GP as soon as possible.

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Linford Christie

Quotation symbol

Most people don’t want to think about getting older and the health implications that it brings – but being aware of the symptoms of prostate cancer so you can act quickly could save your life

Linford Christie OBE