Mobile nav search icon Mobile nav toggle icon Mobile nav close icon
Men's health week

Men’s Health Week – The Fitness Chef on prostate cancer awareness

Health

Men's Health Week is all about tackling stigmas and helping men help themselves. And getting tested for prostate cancer is a must.

This week is Men’s Health Week, which is one of the most important of these kind of awareness weeks. Of course, we know that men have issues here – we know our own tendencies for a start – and there’s a strange dichotomy at play: while we have never been so attuned to our bodies in terms of fitness and nutrition, when it comes to medical issues…oh, best pretend that’s not happening!

It’s curious how we resist the doctors, avoiding perhaps any potential dents in our invincible self-image, or simply because the received knowledge passed down from older generations is to ‘keep calm and carry on’; tough it out.

As the great author Denis Johnson once wrote, ‘It’s always been my tendency to lie to doctors, as if good health consisted only of the ability to fool them.’

Of course, this is something that really needs to be tackled to ensure longer lives for men. And it’s something that is at the heart of a new content series for Men’s Health Week by Prostate Cancer UK, which is called ‘What’s Stopping You’. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, but it’s the most survivable if you find it early. Yet the content series highlights statistics on the barriers stopping men from taking action, including that around half of men (46%) think a digital rectal examination (DRE) – or finger up the bum – is always part of prostate cancer testing, which isn’t the case, and that 42% of men think that it’s up to their GP to tell them of their prostate cancer risk.

One of the famous faces involved in the campaign is Sunday Times best-selling author Graeme Tomlinson – aka The Fitness Chef – who is taking part in Prostate Cancer UK”s Big Golf Race next month. The Race encourages everyone in the country to get together a group of mates at a local course and get sponsored to take on 36, 72 or 100 holes of golf in one day.

Graeme is aiming to complete the challenge at the Turnberry course in Scotland, as he seeks to raise awareness of the disease – his dad was successfully treated for prostate cancer last year – and we grabbed a chat with him:

Can you tell us how you became involved with Prostate Cancer UK and the Big Golf Race?

So I started following their Instagram page after my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer, to follow the latest kind of things and see what I could help with. I got chatting to them, and then because I love golf, they said that they do this Big Golf Race, and they then invited me to the Belfry at the launch of it back in February this year.

I’ll be doing the Big Golf Race at the start of July with a guy from Bunker magazine, and we’re going to do 99 holes in a day. I can’t quite even conceive of that. It seems like a huge number. We’ll start at six in the morning and go until it’s about ten.

Are you training for it?

Yeah, I’m fairly fit anyway, I do a bit of long distance running, go to the gym, but nothing’s going to prepare you for walking 60 to 70,000 steps in golf shoes.

What are the some of the key takeaways that you’ve had from the charity, in terms of what they do and what needs to be done?

Yeah, the main thing is that they’re raising awareness, and I think the key messages that they get across are really important. Like, going and getting a blood test, once you’re of a certain age. It’s just such a common disease, and often it’s symptomless. So sometimes it can be too late. And obviously the earlier you find it, the easier it is to treat.

In my dad’s case, fortunately, it was detected early, and that was because he got a blood test. He had some mild symptoms, and he got a blood test. When it was confirmed that he had prostate cancer, he had it removed, and fortunately he’s been in remission ever since.

But if it wasn’t for blood test…

So the simple message that they’re trying to get out there is just that men can definitely go and get a blood test. It’s not the end of the world to go and do that, and it could be really important.

Men are notoriously bad at going to the doctors and getting themselves checked, aren’t they?

Oh yeah, absolutely. I think my dad probably falls into that category, that he doesn’t really think anything’s wrong with him. So I’m really glad that he went and did that.

He’ll be 70 next year but he’s as fit as anything, he eats really well, so you would never associate him as having any kind of condition like that. It just shows that it doesn’t really discriminate.

My granddad, his dad, also had it. And if it runs in the family, it’s even more important that you go and get a test, even if there’s no symptoms. I’ll certainly be doing that.

Of course cancer doesn’t just affect the individual, it affects the whole family, it must have been a scary thing for you too?

Absolutely. It was a complete shock. He told us out of the blue. I think he probably wanted to go and get checked, and then if nothing was wrong, he wouldn’t have said anything. just to cause us less stress. But then he told us.

He had two very clear options given to him. He could have radiotherapy, or he could have his prostate completely removed by an operation.

The fact that they were able to detect that it hadn’t spread any further made it a no brainer for him to get the operation. To remove it instead of hope that the radiotherapy would reduce it.

Research has been done over all these years to give people options straight away. Being able to detect how far it’s spread or if it has spread, is really important as well. But In our case, it was very quick. I think he told us about it at the end of January 2022 and then he actually had the operation six weeks later.

It was a success. There’s been a few little lifestyle changes had to make since then, but

in terms of how the whole process went, I’m really, really grateful for everything.

What else do people need to know?

On their social media pages, Prostate Cancer UK are trying to get across messages in a relatable way, as opposed to just the sort of science behind it.

But it’s things like prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men.

And they are saying that 52,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year on average. So that’s 143 men every day.

One in eight men will get prostate cancer.

And it’s around half a million men living with prostate cancer.

There’s things like every 45 minutes a man dies from prostate cancer, and that’s terrible, but at the same time, you need to have that kind of impact to make people aware. The most important thing is the awareness and just getting in people’s heads to go and get themselves tested for it before it’s too late.

The Big Golf Race is really good to spread the message through other people and having fun in some ways by bringing activities and events into it.

Are you looking forward to the to the golf race? Are you nervous?

I play golf so much that it’s more how my feet will be by the end of it. I will have to just lie down. But I’m the type of person, where if there’s a challenge I love it.

And finally, have you got anything else that you’re working on at the moment at The Fitness Chef that you can tell us about?

We’re just developing the app, which launched in January. It’s a nutrition tracking app, which essentially helps people reach their fitness goals, but in a very straightforward way, without any BS. It gives them freedom to keep enjoying all of their favourite foods, but also focus on the principles that are important for what they actually want to do, whether it’s fat loss or muscle gain, because there’s a lot of misinformation out there. That’s been the main focus for the last 12 months or so, and we’re just looking to improve that and make it better.

For more information on prostate cancer, head to Prostate Cancer UK, which also has a risk checker.

Sign up to the Big Golf Race here.

Follow Graeme at The Fitness Chef. 

penis gallery

Read next

The Penis Gallery 2024

Health, Masculinity 5 months ago

Crohn's and Colitis

Read next

Leading men open up about Crohn’s ...

Health 7 months ago

Related articles


Health

sex and cancerThe truth about sex and cancer

The Book Of Man

3 months ago

Health

King Charles' cancer diagnosisThe King’s cancer diagnosis and men’s ...

Martin Robinson

5 months ago

Health, Masculinity

penis galleryThe Penis Gallery 2024

Martin Robinson

5 months ago

Health

prostate problemsProstate problems: cancer or enlarged, and common ...

Martin Robinson

5 months ago

Health

Crohn's and ColitisLeading men open up about Crohn’s and Colitis

Martin Robinson

7 months ago

Health

breast cancer in menBreast cancer in men – yes, we can get it too

Martin Robinson

8 months ago

Health

Cialis® Together i‘How Cialis® Together Tackles Erection Difficul...

The Book Of Man

9 months ago

Health

erectile dysfunction“No hard feelings” – couples tel...

The Book Of Man

9 months ago

Health

erection difficultiesErection difficulties – the statistics every...

The Book Of Man

10 months ago

Health

good penis healthHow to have good penis health

The Book Of Man

10 months ago