Calling all men of African origins – rev up your prostate cancer knowledge

Calling all men of African origins - rev up your prostate cancer knowledge

March is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and to raise awareness, Macmillan Cancer Support has come up with six top tips to help men of African origins rev up their prostate cancer knowledge.

By Bill Carlin, Macmillan Cancer Information Nurse

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the UK[1]. It is not yet clear why, but men of African origins of all ages are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer – they may have around three times greater risk of developing prostate cancer than White men[2].

You may have heard all sorts of stories about prostate cancer. Chances are none of them were nice. As men we’re notoriously poor at looking after our health. Are we scared or just disinterested? Maybe we can improve our generally disgraceful record by linking our health to things that we do like.

Car Manuals: If men only looked after their bodies the way that they care for their cars. Good, old, dependable Haynes, the leading publisher of car manuals, now produces three that are very relevant to men’s health. “The Man Manual”, “The Cancer Manual” and “Men’s Cooking Manual”. All three could be relevant to protecting us, or helping us recover from, prostate cancer.

Food: time to be a bit more selective about what we eat, but this doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy it. Try to add tomatoes, oily fish, unsalted nuts and pomegranate juice to your diet. Research suggests that all of these contain substances that can benefit men with prostate cancer[3].

Sex: even after surgery men can still enjoy a healthy sex life. The majority of men recover their ability to have an erection given enough time and patience. Testosterone, the main male sex hormone is likely to be a long-term cause of prostate cancer. A lot of older men in their 80s have at least some cancer cells in this uniquely male gland [4], even if they never go on to cause any trouble. If you’re worried however it’s best to get it checked by your GP. This hormone is the proverbial two-edged sword: it fuels the desire for sex but can also over-stimulate hard-working prostate cells.

Bespoke tailoring: Treatment for prostate cancer isn’t done on a “one-size-fits-all” basis. Specialists will prepare an individual plan for each man’s treatment and recovery. What often frightens men is a feeling that they’re being swept along by events beyond their control. Nowadays the trend is to make you a partner in deciding on treatment.

Robots: boys love their toys, as women always tell us. The Da Vinci robot performs surgery with better results than the techniques used in the past. New approaches to treatment and testing are moving forward all the time.

Football: and any other form of moderate exercise has been shown to help speed up recovery after treatment for most forms of cancer. Testosterone undoubtedly plays a part in giving us a competitive edge so you can use it constructively to lose weight and feel better mentally and physically!

March is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Bill Carlin, Macmillan nurse and expert in prostate cancer will be in the chat room on Tuesday, 01 March from 1.00pm to 2.00pm to answer your questions about prostate cancer, including signs and symptoms, how it is diagnosed, treatments you might have and how to get further support. Put this date in your diaries now! Bill has been working in the field of cancer for 25 years and this is an amazing opportunity for you to ask Bill any question about prostate cancer. It’s free to sign up to take part in the chat all you need to do is register and join our online community. For more details, please visit

For cancer support at home, over the phone, call the Macmillan Support Line free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm) or visit

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