Addressing prostate cancer

14 Jun 2023
NHS South East London

The South East London Cancer Alliance has teamed up with prostate cancer patients, from Black African and Caribbean communities in south east London, and students at the London College of Communications to develop a series of short animations to encourage conversations about prostate cancer.

The ten-part series, which was also developed in collaboration with Partnership Southwark, aims to support Black communities to have open conversations about the risk of Black men developing prostate cancer and the importance of getting tested.

The animations are narrated by the patients who have shared their experience of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. The individuals spoke about their experience of testing, fears of prostate cancer and attitudes towards cancer screening in the Black community.

In the UK, one in eight men will get prostate cancer. However, it’s even more common in Black men – with one in four being diagnosed with the condition in their lifetime.

The animations address this health disparity by highlighting cancer myths and cultural taboos that can prevent Black men from speaking to their GP about their risk of prostate cancer and getting diagnosed early.

To coincide with Men’s Health Week (June 12 to June 18), the South East London Cancer Alliance (SELCA), Partnership Southwark and the London College of Communications are encouraging Black men to watch the animations and discuss the increased risk they face with friends or family members and speak to their GP.

SELCA and its partners are also asking healthcare professionals, faith or cultural groups and barbershops across south east London and beyond to share the animations and encourage Black men to speak to their GP about their risk of prostate cancer, even if they don’t have any symptoms.

The animations, which include titles such as “Why us Black men” and “We don’t want to take the word prostate cancer into our mouths,” can be viewed here.

South east London GP Nicola Weaver said: “We know from speaking to our patients that it’s not uncommon for a Black man to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and not tell his friends or family because of the fear and stigma around cancer. But if you don’t tell your son or brother, who have twice the average risk of developing prostate cancer, then they can’t start testing to catch it earlier.

“We need more men – particularly Black men over the age of 45 – to understand their risk and discuss this with their GP, particularly if they have a family member who has had the condition, as prostate cancer doesn’t always show any symptoms in its early stages.”

“This collaborative project is a fantastic example of how patient voices can be used to better understand the experiences of our diverse communities and ensure that messages about health awareness are tailored to their needs.”

The NHS recommends that Black men over the age of 45 speak to their GP about their risk of prostate cancer, even if people are not experiencing symptoms. Men can also check their risk with Prostate Cancer UK’s online risk checker.