Statistics showing that one in four black men in the UK will be diagnosed with prostate cancer – double the one in eight risk faced by all men, has prompted a Lewisham campaign.

A study by YouGov on behalf of Prostate Cancer UK revealed that 90 percent of black men are unaware of their higher than average risk of developing the disease.

But the launch of a new Lewisham campaign backed by football legend Les Ferdinand and Eastenders star Rudolph Walker aims to raise awareness among black men aged over 45 and encourage them to discuss the options available to them with their GP.

The Be Clear on Cancer campaign coincides with Black History Month and for the first time will turn its attention to black men.

Former England international and Premier League coach Les Ferdinand MBE said: “I lost my granddad to prostate cancer and that’s why I’m supporting the Be Clear on Cancer campaign.”

“We as black men need to openly discuss prostate cancer as we’re more at risk than any other ethnic group, one in four black men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives. The good news is that if it’s caught early, treatment is effective. So, if you are a black man, over the age of 45, don’t ignore this message. Speak to your doctor about your risk and what you can do about it.”

The four-week campaign which starts today will also see the pilot run in Newham, Hackney, Haringey, Lambeth and Southwark due to these boroughs also having a high black population.

Public Health England’s director of health and wellbeing Professor Kevin Fenton said: “The statistic speaks for itself; black men are at a higher than average risk of prostate cancer and need to be aware of this. We are focusing on black men over the age of 45, as we also know that black men have been shown to be diagnosed with prostate cancer on average five years younger than white men.”

“Black History Month is an important time for Africans and Caribbeans in the UK and offers great opportunities for this message to reach these communities. We’re delighted to see high profile figures within the African and Caribbean communities supporting this campaign.”