LETTER TO EDITOR: Prostate cancer

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You may have seen me on the TV this month. Not in my usual guise, as a comedian, actor, purveyor of whimsy, but in an advert talking about prostate cancer.

I read an article about the number of men affected by prostate cancer and I was shocked by the figures, and being a bloke of about the age when the prostate can start to be an issue, I felt compelled to back this campaign.

Blokes are not always good at taking care of themselves and even if they know they have a health problem they often don’t want to talk about it. I am guilty of this myself - a typical Bloke Self-Diagnosis is ‘Ignore it, and hopefully it will go away’.

I want the launch of The Sledgehammer Fund to help change that. I hope that the advert I’ve made for Prostate Cancer UK will get men talking about prostate cancer like women talk about breast cancer. I also want to help raise vital money for research because there is an urgent need for better ways of diagnosing prostate cancer and better ways of treating the disease - so the deadlier tumours are caught, before it’s too late.

My father-in-law was diagnosed with prostate cancer, treated, and is now clear and leading a full life so it can be done - but over 10,000 men every year in the UK are not so lucky.

Cancer can be a difficult subject to talk about but maybe that’s where comedy can help - humour is sometimes an effective way of broaching tricky subjects, and to get a serious message under the radar. By getting the conversation going, I hope this campaign will help Prostate Cancer UK give men a better chance of beating this disease.

If you see this ad and want to find out more about prostate cancer or make a donation - then for me it’s been a success.

To quote myself from the ad, do yourself a favour, do your Dad a favour, do your son a favour, do mankind a favour … and get giving. Help us crack prostate cancer once and for all.

Thank you for your support,

Bill Bailey (Hammersmith, London)

To make a £5 donation text CRACK to 70004 or call 0800 0821199 or visit www.prostatecanceruk.org