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Prostate cancer and me

SURVIVOR: Errol McKellar's cancer was caught early

ERROL MCKELLAR is a 59-year-old car mechanic who owns a garage in Hackney, London.

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010 after his wife prompted him to go and see his GP. He didn’t have any symptoms.

“My wife was complaining about my snoring, so I said to her if she made an appointment with the GP for me, then I would go. I went along to the doctors and while I was sitting in the waiting room, something made me go and pick up this leaflet about prostate cancer.

“I asked them, ‘how long will it take to do this prostate test?’ and they said, ’10 minutes – and we can do it now.’ And those 10 minutes changed my life.”

Errol’s PSA level came back high, and further tests revealed he had prostate cancer. In February 2011, he had an operation to remove his prostate and went on to have three months of radiotherapy – and has now been given the all clear.

“Prostate cancer wasn’t a topic I even knew about, until I picked up that leaflet. And what’s even more ironic, is I found out later down the line, after my diagnosis, that my dad also had prostate cancer but he never said a word.

“When I tried to speak to my dad about it, he sort of brushed it off and said ‘oh I had that about five years ago’.

“For me, this is something which needs to be spoken about. Because if someone in your family has prostate cancer, unfortunately, that means someone else is likely to get it too.

“If we don’t talk about it, someone in your family might not know the importance of why they need to get tested. I feel I have a responsibility to raise awareness to not only my family but other men.”

Did you know only that only 14 per cent of black men are aware of their increased risk of prostate cancer? Prostate Cancer UK’s latest campaign, Stronger Knowing More, aims to make sure that all black men know their risk.

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