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Hollywood actor and prostate cancer patient raises awareness of testing among black men

Actor Colin McFarlane has revealed that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and is backing Prostate Cancer UK’s campaign to encourage men over 50 and Black men over 45 to get a PSA test, as a result of his experience.

The Dark Knight star, 61, said he discovered the condition nine months after his brother was also diagnosed with the same cancer.

McFarlane, also known for his roles in Doctor Who and Outlander, explained that both he and his brother found out about the cancer after taking a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, which can be given to men without symptoms after a consultation with a doctor.

The actor said that he has been regularly testing for cancer after a fellow actor who was treated for it 17 years ago told him about its prevalence among Black men.

He said: “I was already aware of the risk to me, so had been having annual and then six-monthly regular PSA blood tests with my GP.

Actor Colin McFarlane raising awareness with Prostate UK
Actor Colin McFarlane is the face of Prostate UK's 'What on earth is a prostate?' campaign

Thankfully, just over a year ago, I had told my brother to get a PSA blood test otherwise he wouldn’t have been diagnosed, because he had no symptoms.

Actor Colin McFarlane

He added that he is “one of the lucky ones” as he has been “able to catch this very early”.

McFarlane added: “So, although I have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, I do not require any treatment.

“I am being regularly monitored with PSA blood tests every three months and an MRI (or magnetic resonance imaging scan) once a year.”

“As it’s a very slow-moving cancer I am in the best possible position to ascertain what treatment I would need in the future if that were ever deemed necessary, and currently that scenario is a long way off,” he continued.

“It’s men who take no action and don’t know anything about their prostate health that are at the greatest risk.”

McFarlane is backing Prostate Cancer UK’s 'What on earth is a prostate?' campaign (opens in a new tab) to encourage men over 50 and Black men over 45 to get a PSA test, as a result of his experience.

The charity said that Black men are at double the risk of getting the disease, with one in four expecting to get it in their lifetime, compared to one in eight among other men.

Too many men black men are dying from prostate cancer. They need to know that a simple blood test could save their life.

Colin McFarlane

Alongside Prostate UK, our United Against Prostate Cancer project team are raising awareness that black men are at double the risk, as one in four will get it in their lifetime compared to the rate being one in eight among other men.

Actor Colin McFarlane speaks about being tested for prostate cancer

Link: https://youtu.be/hz4-OEgWQvU

What is the prostate?

The prostate is a part of the male reproductive system and is located in the pelvis, between the penis and the bladder.

It’s a small gland around the size of a walnut, and its function is to produce a white fluid that partly makes up semen.

Men, trans women, non-binary people who were assigned male at birth, and some intersex people have prostates.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer can develop “when cells in the prostate start to grow in an uncontrolled way,” according to Prostate Cancer UK.

It is the most common cancer in men, as one in eight men is diagnosed with it in their lifetime.

In the UK, around 400,000 men are living with prostate cancer or have had prostate cancer.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer typically develops slowly so men might not notice any signs for years.

Symptoms that do appear usually happen when the prostate becomes large enough to impact the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder and out of the penis.

These symptoms include:

  • an increased need to pee
  • straining while you pee
  • a feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied

These symptoms can also be caused by prostate enlargement but should be checked by a doctor. Find out more on the NHS website. (opens in a new tab)

Further information

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