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Eddie Nestor Headshot

Let's Drag Prostate Cancer Into Public Awareness

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Five years after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, BBC Radio London presenter Eddie Nestor was last week given the all-clear by doctors.

To mark his recovery he's aiming to raise £20,012 pounds this summer in aid of all those charities that help cancer sufferers and survivors to keep on fighting.

Here he explains why he's going to new and outrageous lengths in order to achieve his goal

Heart pounding, legs aching, the finish line is in my sights. All around me spectators cheer and yell, pushing me on through the last metres of this epic race. I sprint the final lengths, and as my fishnet-clad foot touches down at the end, I thrust my feather boa into the air, pumping my fists in victory.

A photo finish this glamorous and glitzy could only be found at The Great Drag Race, a fantastic test of determination - and superb style - that saw guys from across the UK donning their finest frocks to run over 10k in aid of prostate cancer. This annual event, which took place on Saturday 30th June in Highbury Fields, is the only one of its kind for men in the UK, giving us guys a chance to speak out about our health issues and - hopefully - help to raise some awareness too.

And why the high heels, fishnets and feather boas? Because when it comes to getting the public talking about key health issues, women know how to do it.

Women across the UK do everything they can to raise awareness about their health problems - from the Races for Life to the Moonwalk - while men are happy to stick their heads in the sand and hide away from health matters.

I used to be unbelievably ignorant and never used to pay any attention to my health; as long as I could get up in the morning and get myself to work, I was fine. Sadly, when I finally wised-up, it was too late.

In February 2007, I was mid-way through my training for the London Marathon and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. While I've never been the most svelte and athletic of blokes, I was running faster and feeling fitter than I ever had before, ready to take on all those miles.

Just weeks later however, and my once-reliable body had completely turned against me, leaving me fighting against a horrific disease that was doing all it could to sap the life right out of me.

I had been training for a number of months when I first noticed some unusual pains at the top of my right thigh, but I was quick to ignore the hard lump - quite clearly the cause of my pains - brushing it off as a symptom of the rigorous regime that I had been putting myself through.

It was my wife who insisted that I go and get myself checked out, after I had refused on a number of occasions to make an appointment with my GP. But she put her foot down and thank f**k she did.

Throughout a variety of blood tests, CT scans and dreaded bone marrow biopsies, she was there to hold my hand and offer support and, when the final diagnosis came through, it was her who was there to promise that I would fight it and, more importantly, that I would beat it.

Having spoken to a number of guys like me in the five years since I was first diagnosed, this seems like a pretty standard story; for whatever reason, blokes just don't like to admit when they've got a problem.

Five years ago, I was the same way and I am beyond grateful that I had someone strong-willed enough to force me to the nearest GP. Who knows where I would be - or if I would even be here at all - if my wife hadn't insisted that I make that appointment?

So, because she did, I want to do the same for every other guy in the UK by raising awareness of a disease that is claiming more and more lives every year: prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is now the number one cancer found among men in the UK, killing over 10,200 men every year; almost as many men as breast cancer kills women. Despite this, 70% of men have no knowledge of any of the symptoms of the disease, or indeed how they would even begin to go about getting diagnosed or treated.

On top of this, it has been proven that African Caribbean men in the UK are three times more likely to develop the disease as white men of the same age. Does this mean they're any more likely to talk about it? Of course not.

But talk about it we must and that's why spent my Saturday dragging the issue into the spotlight by running the fantastically outrageous Great Drag Race. I ran 10.2k - one metre for every man killed by prostate cancer each year - dressed from top to toe in some delightful drag, alongside sufferers, survivors, family members and friends; all of whom had been affected in some way by this horrendous disease.

The Great Drag Race is a fantastically unique event in that it is the only charity race of its kind targeted specifically at men, which is pretty appalling when you look at the plethora of events available for women.

It's so important that guys in the UK - particularly those that know they are at a greater risk of developing this disease - start taking a pro-active stance on their personal health before it's too late.

For more information about this year's Great Drag Race, or to see photos from the event, head to www.thegreatdragrace.org.

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