FORMER R’s defender Paul Parker has signed up to a first-of-its-kind study in the UK aiming to solve the mystery of why black men develop prostate cancer at twice the rate of other men.
Funded by QPR’s charity partners Prostate Cancer UK, in partnership with Movember, and based at the Royal Marsden in London, the PROFILE study will look at the genes of men of African and Caribbean descent to see if they can learn to predict prostate cancer risk and find better ways of diagnosing and treating the disease.
Parker, who made 160 appearances during a four-year spell in W12, signed up to the PROFILE study after his dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year. He has been a supporter of Prostate Cancer UK for many years, helping to raise funds and awareness for the charity by twice completing the Football to Amsterdam cycle ride and joining two football-themed walking events, including Jeff Stelling’s 2019 March for Men.
The 57-year-old, who was also part of England’s squad when they reached the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup, now wants to help raise awareness of the increased risk of prostate cancer in black men. In the UK, one in four black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, double the one-in-eight risk faced by all men. Paul is encouraging other men like him to join him in the PROFILE study so we can better understand why this is.
The study is currently open to men aged 40-69, who are of African or Caribbean descent and haven’t previously had prostate cancer. It will continue to recruit men until March 2022.
Parker said: “I got involved with the PROFILE study to help other black men, but more importantly my two boys and my grandson. Anything I can do to help stop them getting the disease in the future is my way of giving something back.
“My dad was lucky that his prostate cancer was caught so early. But we now need to dig deeper and really understand why black men are at higher risk of the disease so we can get to the point of stopping it. I hope that by finding out more about the genetics of prostate cancer we can help to save more men, and more black men in particular.
“If you’re a fit and healthy black man, aged between 40 and 69, I’d encourage you to come and join me. Come and do it for all the other black men out there. That’s the reason I’m signing up. I know I’m going to be helping a lot of people in the future, and I’m proud to be playing a part.”
Men over 50, black men and men with a family history of prostate cancer are all at higher risk of the disease. Prostate Cancer UK has launched an online risk checker, available at prostatecanceruk.org/riskcheck, to help men understand their risk.
Find out more about the PROFILE study and how you can help at prostatecanceruk.org/riskresearch.
Prostate Cancer UK’s 30-second online risk checker to help men understand their risk is available online at prostatecanceruk.org/riskcheck.