Sir Michael Parkinson warns men against 'ignoring' prostate cancer risks


Sir Michael Parkinson is urging men not to ignore signs of prostate cancer as a new survey found most are unaware of what the prostate does.

The broadcaster, who was given the all clear last year after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, said too many men turned a blind eye to the disease.

It comes as the charity Prostate Cancer UK warned that ignorance surrounding the prostate could prove lethal.

Michael Parkinson and wife Mary arriving for day eleven of the Wimbledon Championships in 2014 (Jonathan Brady/PA Archive/Press Association Images)

More than nine out of 10 (92%) of over 3,500 men surveyed for the charity had no idea what the prostate does.

Some 54% did not know where the gland - which helps make the fluid for sperm and helps men ejaculate - was in their body and 17% were unaware they even had a prostate.

Sir Michael said: "Luckily for me I was aware of the potential threat my prostate posed to me long before I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

"I had regular check-ups and thankfully my cancer was picked up at an early stage and I was successfully treated.

"However, too many men are still reluctant to go to the doctor's and too many turn a blind eye to their risk of the disease.

"But ignoring prostate cancer won't beat it. Speak to your doctor, if not for you, for your family."

Former England footballer Les Ferdinand added: "I'm not surprised so many men don't know what their prostate does - it's an easy gland to ignore.

"However when it goes wrong, it can be deadly.

"Prostate cancer affects one in four black men - double the risk faced by all men, and it kills a man every hour.

"Don't ignore the statistics and don't ignore your risk."

Men over 50, black men and those with a family history of prostate cancer are all at higher risk of the disease, which kills more than 10,000 men a year.

Prostate Cancer UK predicts that by 2030, the disease will be the UK's most common cancer overall unless efforts are made to stop it.

Symptoms of prostate cancer include a need to urinate frequently, especially at night, difficulty starting urination or holding back urine, painful urination, difficulty having an erection and blood in urine or semen.

Angela Culhane, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, said: "Ignoring your prostate can be lethal.

"You can't see it, you can't feel it, and shockingly many men only realise they have a prostate when it starts to go wrong.

"If men really knew what the prostate can do to them, they wouldn't ignore it.

"As a country, we need to wake up and stop men dying needlessly."