Popular weatherman ‘Dancing’ Des Coleman is urging men not to put off getting checked for prostate cancer until a rainy day.
Keeping a check on the weather is not the only thing Des Coleman is good at. A winner of 2 Royal Television Society awards, the ITV Central weather presenter, West End singer and actor, who played the part of Lenny Wallace in BBC’s EastEnders, has won three separate battles with cancer following early diagnosis.
In a bid to encourage other men to seek help, Des is supporting the #PlayDominoTalkProstate initiative launched by the Leicester-based Centre for BME Health.
In a short YouTube vlog, the Derby-born performer praises the campaign launched by Pamela Campbell-Morris, the Project Initiator and Community Champion at the Centre for BME Health, and urged men, particularly African Caribbean men, to not ignore the warning signs.
He said: “I know a thing or two about cancer, you know. I was at drama school, minding my own business and cancer tried to get me, but we caught it early and a couple of years later it came back again, and I caught it early and then a couple of years ago I had it in my stomach but guess what, we caught it early again.
“There’s a common denominator here, catch it early! This is exactly what can happen if you get prostate cancer. If you catch it early, it’s treatable.
“Everybody can get it but one in four black guys can get it, so if you’re sitting there thinking ‘la de da, it isn’t going to happen to me’ then think again. All we’re trying to say is take care of yourselves and the best way of doing that is getting yourself checked out.”
Statistics show one in four African Caribbean men will develop prostate cancer at some point in their lives, compared to one in eight men from other backgrounds.
Pamela Campbell-Morris said: “Des has first-hand experience of overcoming cancer not once but three times. He is living testament to the fact that it is important not to turn a blind eye to any changes you experience. He knows that seeking help and early diagnosis literally save lives – it saved his.”
The #PlayDominoTalkProstate campaign is passionate about raising more awareness, predominantly amongst those of African and African Caribbean communities, about prostate cancer and the steps they can take to prevent it.
Pamela added: “I hope that people will take courage from Des and all that he has been through and find the inner strength to go out of their comfort zones and get checked.”
Des Coleman has twice beaten a serious strain of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He also survived a gastric tumour thanks to life-saving surgery.
The Centre for BME Health is working to reduce health inequality in the region by sharing resources and promoting research.
The Centre is funded by the University of Leicester and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East Midlands. NIHR ARC East Midlands is a partnership of regional health services, universities and industry which turns research into cost-saving and high-quality care through cutting-edge innovation.
Professor Kamlesh Khunti, who is the Director of the NIHR ARC East Midlands and is also Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “Des’s unique experiences of battling cancer show just how important it is to seek help. He is here to tell the tale and encourage men from African and African Caribbean backgrounds to not ignore the signs and take up the tests and help on offer.
“We now know that prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK proving how vitally important it is that men take the necessary steps to get themselves checked for this preventable disease.”
Prostate problems can cause urinary symptoms, such as needing to rush to the toilet or needing to go more often than normal, however urinary symptoms are usually caused by problems that aren’t cancer such as an enlarged prostate or a urine infection.
Professor Khunti added: “If you are suffering symptoms you should get checked out by your GP. They will want to make sure you get the right diagnosis so you can get the right treatment, if you need it.”