Former footballer raises awareness of prostate cancer in black men

Footballer Paul Parker sat in a stadium

Former England football player, Paul Parker, is taking part in the profile study and is encouraging other men to join him. - Credit: Prostate Cancer UK

A former England football player and a Romford daughter are raising awareness of prostate cancer in black men.

Ifeoma Nembhardt is encouraging men to take part in a study to understand why black men develop prostate cancer at twice the rate of other men, according to Prostate Cancer UK.  

The profile study, which is based in the Royal Marsden Hospital, will look at the genes of men of African and Caribbean descent.  

Former footballer for Fulham, Queen’s Park Rangers and Manchester United, Paul Parker - who is based in Billericay but went to school in Hornchurch - has signed up to the study after his dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  

It is funded by Prostate Cancer UK in partnership with Movember. 


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Romford-based Ifeoma lost her 69-year-old dad, Nnamdi, to complications of prostate cancer in May 2020.  

She said he was diagnosed late due to “not being aware that his age and ethnicity put him at higher risk of the disease”.  

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As founder of Prostate Cancer: Black Men (PCBM), Ifeoma is dedicated to raising knowledge about the disease among all black men.  

Romford-based Ifeoma Nembhardt and her dad who passed away in May 2020

Romford-based Ifeoma Nembhardt and her dad who passed away in May 2020. - Credit: Ifeoma Nembhardt

The 36-year-old said: "I didn’t know much about prostate cancer before my dad was diagnosed, and had no idea that black men had double the chance of getting it.  

"Unfortunately, in Nigerian tradition, no one really talks about cancer – but that needs to change. I truly believe that if I’d known then what I know now, my dad might still be here. 

"I want to make people in the black community aware of the risks of prostate cancer so they can catch it early before it turns into something terminal." 

Paul Parker, who was part of England’s squad in the 1990 World Cup semi-final and is now 57 years old, said:  “I got involved with the 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."  

The study is open to men aged 40-69 of African or Caribbean descent who haven’t previously had prostate cancer. It is recruiting until March 2022. 

To sign up to the study, speak to a member of the research team by emailing prostate.research@rmh.nhs.uk or calling 020 8722 4483.

Further information can be found at prostatecanceruk.org/riskresearch.

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