British Labour MP Chuka Umunna has just called for all black men to “wise up” to their higher risk of prostate cancer.
The 37-year-old MP spoke after a recent survey for Prostate Cancer UK found that, 86 per cent of black men were unaware of their increased risk, with 1 in 12 dying yearly from the disease.
The poll, released during this Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness Month, exposes a widespread lack of awareness of both the disease and the gland itself amongst black men in the UK.
The prostate gland is an important component of the male sex system, but 92 per cent don’t know what the sex gland does for them, 62 per cent don’t know where it is located in the body, and nearly a fifth (19 per cent) are unaware they even have a prostate.
1 in 4 Black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and 1 in 12 will die from it – double the risk faced by white men in the UK.
“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 Streatham MP 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. 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 more likely to develop the disease at a younger age. Black men are encouraged to have a PSA blood test, which is the first step towards a diagnosis of the disease, from the age of 45, rather than 50 – 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”.
Only men have a prostate gland. The prostate is usually the size and shape of a walnut and grows bigger as you get older. It sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra – the tube men urinate and ejaculate through. Its main job is to help make semen – the fluid that carries sperm.