Lifestyle

Man Utd legend Paul Parker in emotional prostate cancer plea after dad diagnosed

Prostate cancer is the most typical sort of cancer discovered in males, with one in eight in the UK diagnosed in their lifetime. It’s a sobering determine – but the numbers are doubly regarding for black males who’ve a rate of 1 in 4.

It’s not recognized why their threat is a lot greater, although genetics are thought to play an element. It’s a problem charity Prostate Cancer UK is looking for out extra about, launching the PROFILE research in partnership with Movember, and urging black males aged 40-69 who haven’t had prostate cancer to participate.

One man who’s signed up is former England and Manchester United star Paul Parker.

The defender turned pundit, now 57, has a really personal purpose for doing so – his dad Louis, 80, was diagnosed with the illness final year.

Paul is encouraging males, particularly black males in the upper threat class, to place their embarrassment apart, discover out concerning the risks and converse to their docs.



Paul Parker performed for Manchester United and England

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“My dad had an issue that forced him to go to the GP, I don’t think many men of that era do that unless they have to,” he says.

In Louis’s case, his household made positive he sought assist. “My mum and my brother ground him down really, got him to the doctors and, lo and behold, they picked up prostate cancer.”

Fortunately, the illness was caught early. “The timing couldn’t have been better,” says Paul.

“The cancer was encapsulated in the prostate so he was very, very fortunate and only needed to have a course of radiotherapy.”

After residing overseas in Singapore for eight years, Paul was grateful to be dwelling, and capable of assist mum Myra and siblings Doreen, Denis and Colin as Louis went by therapy.



Paul's dad Louis with great-granddaughter Mila
Paul’s dad Louis with great-granddaughter Mila

“I was able to drive him to radiotherapy instead of relying on them, then relaying it back to me thousands of miles away,” he says. “When you become a parent yourself, you understand what your parents did for you and you want to give something back.”

Paul, who’s married to Nicola, has a daughter, Georgie, 33, and two sons, Max, 24, and Jake, 21, and is uncle to West Ham defender Ben Johnson.

He says the lads in his household weren’t conscious of the one in 4 statistic till Paul began fundraising for Prostate Cancer UK.

“Obviously prostate cancer can affect all men, but when it comes to black men, there’s a 50 per cent difference. That increase in risk is pretty shocking. So when I was offered the chance to do the PROFILE study, I said yes straight away.”

The research entails having an preliminary evaluation on the Royal Marsden in Chelsea or Sutton, and common blood assessments for no less than 5 years.

Professor Ros Eeles, who’s main the research, says: “By finding out more about genetic changes that influence prostate cancer risk, the PROFILE study will help us understand why men of African and Afro-Caribbean descent develop it at twice the rate of other men and it will help us identify better tests to screen patients and detect the disease earlier.”

Paul is optimistic that analysis will result in higher outcomes. “I hope this study means that by the time my sons and grandson are older, things will have improved.” His message to males is that it’s value overcoming embarrassment.

“I do know it’s onerous for males to get assist – I postpone having a hip alternative for 2 years and was so embarrassed about my limp I turned a bit little bit of a recluse.

“But after the whole lot we’ve been by with lockdown and the pandemic, persons are able to take pleasure in their lives.



Paul with sons Max and Jake
Paul with sons Max (L) and Jake (R)

“I think that men have really got to have to look at their personal health and just make sure everything is OK.”

Paul says that fundraising with Prostate Cancer UK has actually introduced dwelling the gravity of the illness. “I did a 145-mile fundraising bike ride from Stratford to Amsterdam in 2019 and it was the hardest thing I’ve done, physically and mentally, since I packed in playing,” he says.

“But it was so tough that everyone on the ride was sharing the pain, and talking about the people they know who’ve had prostate cancer, the brothers, dads, uncles, grandads.

“At another event, an immaculate gentleman with young children got up and started speaking about prostate cancer. It was incredible, what he was saying about it. Then somebody told me that the gentleman’s cancer was terminal.

“I’m not an emotional person, it takes a lot to get me going, but that did. His children deserve more time with him. It made me think, I’m going to get tested.”

  • To discover out extra about prostate cancer – or to participate in the PROFILE research – go to Prostate Cancer UK’s web site (prostatecanceruk.org) or name the charity’s specialist nurses on 0800 074 838.

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