Kensal Rise actor Danny John-Jules gets behind prostate cancer campaign
PUBLISHED: 12:02 16 January 2017 | UPDATED: 12:22 16 January 2017
A Kensal Rise actor has got behind a campaign calling for black communities to confront their increased risk of prostate cancer.
Danny Jules-John, star of Red Dwarf and BBC’s Death in Paradise has been captured in an exclusive set of images by the highly acclaimed photographer, Dennis Morris as part of Prostate Cancer UK’s Stronger Knowing More campaign.
He is joined in a national rollout of billboard advertising by a host of celebrities including Olympic gold medalist, Linford Christie, writer and musician, Benjamin Zephaniah, Labour MP Chuka Umunna, and awarded car mechanic Errol McKellar to get men across the country talking about their risk of prostrate cancer and taking action.
He said: “The first person I heard talking about prostate cancer was Benjamin Zephaniah. He’s a Rastafarian talking about stuff that Rasta’s don’t usually talk about. There’s still a big taboo in our community when it comes to prostate cancer; people keep quiet about it and people don’t like to go to the doctor – it’s a macho thing. But when you hear that black men face double the risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, that macho attitude seems ridiculous.
“We all need to protect ourselves from this disease, which is why it’s so important to know the facts and understand your risk.”
Errol McKellar, who grew up in Brent and now offers 20 per cent discounts at his garage in Hackney to all men who get tested, was diagnosed with the disease in 2010.
Today he has “very little feeling” below his belly button, He said: “For me it’s personal, I’m alive.”
Awarded with a Point of Light award by Prime Minister Theresa May for his charity MOT Yourself, the 60-year-old added: “Anyone who goes to do the test, they are the heroes for me. That area is still a taboo, men don’t talk about it. It’s a simple blood test, if you leave it, it will kill you.”
One in four black men in the UK will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and one in twelve will die from the disease – double the risk faced by white men.
The charity said “an alarming” 86 per cent of black men, who are more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age than other ethnicities, are oblivious to the danger they face and say the disease is widely regarded as a taboo subject within many families.
Tony Wong, Men at Risk programme manager at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “As a black man myself I am all too aware of the long-standing taboos that surround prostate cancer within our communities.
“Too many black men are still unaware of their increased risk, but what’s more concerning is that those who are aware often fail to speak out about the issue. This has got to stop. If caught early enough, prostate cancer can often be successfully treated and many men can return to a good quality of life.
“Awareness is the first step to diagnosis which is why we’re so pleased some of the most influential black men in Britain today are shining a light on this important issue.
“We are now calling on black communities everywhere to bring up the conversation of their health and prostate cancer with their dads, brothers, uncles and friends. It’s only by talking about the disease and acting on our risk that we’re really going to be able to beat it for good.”
To find out more about the risk of prostate cancer in black men go to prostatecanceruk.org/strongerknowingmore