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Men urged to take control of their health destiny

CAMPAIGN: Desmond Jaddoo, left, at the House of Commons with Birmingham Labour MP Steve McCabe earlier this year for the launch of the Hear Me Now: One Year On report

MEN ARE being urged to take control of their own health destinies with a new health awareness campaign being launched in Birmingham on Friday (Oct 24).

It is well documented that African and Caribbean men are twice as likely to develop prostate cancer as their white counterparts, while also developing it at a younger age.

The New Jerusalem Church in Rocky Lane, Aston is hosting an event from 6.30pm on Friday, highlighting this issue while also focussing on the health risks of undetected high blood pressure and diabetes.

Desmond Jaddoo, founder and director of Birmingham Empowerment Forum, chaired Birmingham’s first community group meeting on prostate cancer last December.

He is supporting recommendations, which have already been put before Parliament, that all black men aged 45 and upwards, or ideally 40, should be targeted for annual prostate cancer screening.

It has the attention of MP David Lammy, who in April hosted a House of Commons launch of the second Hear Me Now: One Year On report by Rose Thompson, director of BME Cancer Communities.

Thompson, a radiotherapy radiographer qualified to superintendent level, is urging every GP in Britain to have a register of African Caribbean men with a records of their test results to end what she calls ‘a major health inequality.’

Jaddoo, who is organising the Birmingham event, said: “This is a serious issue and we have to ensure there is a distinct level of pro-activity with this ever-increasing health inequality. Men must take control of their health otherwise mothers will lose their sons, wives lose their husbands, children lose their fathers – the list will just continue.

“It’s important that men do get checked by their GP at 40 and are not fobbed off by the doctor telling them they are too young to be at risk. The test initially involves at least a PSA check (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood test and also a digital rectal examination, which although uncomfortable, could be a lifesaver.”

Jaddoo added that Birmingham already had a postcode lottery with health inequality based on geographical locations across the city. Between residents living in Lozells and those living in Sutton there was a 13-year difference in life expectancy.

Friday’s free event is open to all and there will be health professionals on hand. There will also be a free buffet after the session. People wanting to attend can register at referring to Men Taking Control.

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