Like many men, Godfrey Fletcher, had little knowledge of prostate cancer when he was diagnosed at just 47.
The news came as a complete shock. Godfrey was unaware that black men over 45 faced a higher risk of prostate cancer. He also didn’t know that he had a family history of the disease, which also made it more likely he would develop prostate cancer.
He said, “After being diagnosed with prostate cancer I found out that I wasn’t the only one in my family. Not only had my grandfather died from the disease, my father had been living with it for some time but preferred not to speak about it.
“Thankfully my cancer was picked up early and I should make a full recovery, but this notion of avoiding conversations about a disease that affects one in four black men must end.”
Most men with early prostate cancer don’t have any symptoms. That’s why it’s important for people to be aware of the risk factors too. Prostate cancer is most common in men over 50 and black men and men with a family history of prostate cancer have a particularly high risk. The PSA blood test is the first step towards diagnosis and black men are encouraged to start speaking to their GP about the test from the age of 45 – five years earlier than other men.
Since his diagnosis, Godfrey has worked with Prostate Cancer UK on their mission to tell black men about their higher risk of prostate cancer.
He said, “Let’s get a conversation going. Let’s talk about prostate cancer and get the message out there so that more people can be diagnosed earlier.”
If you are concerned about your risk, you can contact Prostate Cancer UK’s Specialist Nurses on 0800 074 8383 or visit prostatecanceruk.org.