Athletes Colin Jackson and Donovan Bailey's pursuit for prostate cancer awareness


Former athletes Colin Jackson and Donovan Bailey say black men need the ‘fear factor’ to ensure they take prostate cancer seriously

Statistics show that one in four men of African and Caribbean descent will develop prostate cancer in the UK compared with one in eight men from the wider population.

Although men from African and Caribbean descent are more likely to develop prostate cancer, they are less likely to go to the GP for screening. Jackson and Bailey both believe this is due to lack of awareness of the disease and also taboos and stigmas associated with screening methods. Bailey points out that “In Jamaica the men are told that if a guy gives you the ‘finger test’ then you turn gay... so they would rather ignore it and die. It is as insane as that”

For Jackson, he wants the African and Caribbean community to become more aware of prostate cancer and its disproportionate effects on our communities “We want more footfall through doctors surgeries. These situations affect everybody and men need to recognise that...We need to be more vocal, so people go out there and raise awareness”

The facts

•Black men are more likely to get prostate cancer than other men. In the UK, about 1 in 4 Black men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives.

•You are two and a half times more likely to get prostate cancer if your father or brother has had it, compared to a man who has no relatives with prostate cancer.

•Your chance of getting prostate cancer may be greater if your father or brother was under 60 when he was diagnosed, or if you have more than one close relative with prostate cancer.

•You may have a higher risk of prostate cancer if your mother or sister has had breast cancer, particularly if they were diagnosed under the age of 60 and had faults in genes called BRCA1 or BRCA2.

•Prostate cancer mainly affects men over 50, and your risk increases with age. The average age for men to be diagnosed with prostate cancer is between 70 and 74 years. If you are under 50, your risk of getting prostate cancer is very low. Men under 50 can get it, but it isn’t common.