Black men twice as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer
Cancer is often reluctant to show many warning signs before it advances.
If Alfred Fagan, 60, waited for the deadly condition to rear its ugly head, he’s not sure if he would have been “diagnosed in time”.
The then 50-year-old only found out he had prostate cancer after hurting his back at the gym in 2013.
The accident prompted him to visit his GP which resulted in a diagnosis that turned his world upside down.
The Birmingham man recalled he saw something on TV about black men being at a higher risk of prostate cancer, so he thought it was the perfect time to get checked as he was already at the doctor’s.
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While he only expected a routine, quick check-up followed by off you go, he received the diagnosis that everyone dreads.
Mr Fagan told Birmingham Mail: “Before I was diagnosed, I was really fit and healthy – cancer was the last thing on my mind.
“I actually only went to the doctor in the first place because I’d hurt my back at the gym.
“I’d recently seen a piece on TV about black men being at a higher risk for prostate cancer, so I casually mentioned it to my GP while I was there.
“Because of my age and ethnicity, I was given a blood test and was eventually diagnosed with prostate cancer.”
Following this gloomy news, The Birmingham man thought he was going to die.
However, it’s been 10 years since his diagnosis and he is thankfully still cancer-free.
Mr Fagan said: “When I heard I had cancer, I thought I was going to die.
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“What I know now is how lucky I was that I caught it early, because I got treated and now 10 years on, I’m still cancer-free.”
Worryingly, prostate cancer often shows no symptoms in the early stages which can leave sufferers in the dark about having it.
Therefore, health leaders are urging more men to get tested as part of a nationwide campaign.
Chiara De Biase, director of support and influencing at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Men’s health can be a minefield. Everyone has gaps in their knowledge and every one of us probably believes something that just isn’t true.
“But what’s really worrying is that this misinformation could stop a man from getting the early diagnosis that could save his life.
“It’s especially concerning how many men believe they’ll see signs of early-stage prostate cancer and would avoid speaking to their GP if they didn’t have symptoms, when we know that prostate cancer doesn’t usually have any symptoms at all until it’s already spread and become incurable.”
Those who are over 50, black or have a family history of the illness, are more likely to be at risk.
This is something that Mr Fagan is also trying to highlight. He added: “The main message I try to get across is that you just can’t wait for symptoms, because if I had, I don’t know if I’d have been diagnosed in time.”
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