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Jools Holland reveals 2014 prostate cancer diagnosis in bid to help charity

He will be performing during a star-studded event, Raise the Roof, at the Royal Albert Hall in June this year.

03 March 2022

Jools Holland has spoken for the first time about being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014 as he announced a star-studded event in support of charity.

The musician and TV star, 64, revealed he was diagnosed following a routine blood test, and at the time had no symptoms – adding that it is “really important for men to be aware of the facts of prostate cancer and understand their risk”.

He has joined forces with men’s health charity Prostate Cancer UK for a musical event titled Raise the Roof, which will see names from the world of music – including Paul Weller and Spice Girl Melanie C, and well-known comedians take to the stage at the Royal Albert Hall on June 22.

Raise the Roof was the brainchild of musician Jools Holland and the founder of Prostate Cancer UK, Professor Jonathan Waxman (PR handout)

In an exclusive interview, Holland told the PA news agency: “If I can bring people’s awareness to the facts of prostate cancer then I would certainly stand on top of my piano and shout about it because I think it’s really important.

“I had no awareness of prostate cancer, no symptoms that I noticed whatsoever, until I was diagnosed following a routine blood test in 2014. Thankfully I was successfully treated, but if more people were aware of their risk and caught the disease early, then more lives would be saved.

“If Raise the Roof was able to achieve this and save one man’s life, it would be the best thing ever that would come out of this.”

The event, which will be hosted by former Strictly Come Dancing star and TV presenter AJ Odudu and comedian and actor Jim Moir, also boasts a line-up including Celeste, Paloma Faith, Ruby Turner, comedy stars Shaparak Khorsandi, Gina Yashere and Stephen K Amos – with more names still to be announced.

Funds from Raise the Roof, which was the idea of Holland, and his friend and the founder of Prostate Cancer UK, Professor Jonathan Waxman, will go towards research into helping to find a better testing approach to prostate cancer and one which could be used for a UK-wide screening programme, the charity said.

Holland is not the only star to support Prostate Cancer UK, with Stephen Fry, who was diagnosed in 2017, and Bill Turnbull, diagnosed in the same year, both last month supporting the charity’s call – alongside NHS England – urging men to use its risk assessment tool.

Musician Jools Holland and the founder of Prostate Cancer UK, Professor Jonathan Waxman (PR handout)

The charity estimates that around 14,000 men in England could have undiagnosed prostate cancer and may be in need of urgent treatment, with one in eight men affected by prostate cancer in the UK every year.

Holland told PA: “People often think ‘this is something that happens to other people’. It’s not like I felt any different.

“It’s not like I suddenly felt ill, except you suddenly have this thing hanging over your head and you think ‘hang on, don’t people die from all this?’ So obviously that was of concern, but then once I started talking to Professor Waxman I realised there are all sorts of ways of dealing with it if caught early.”

“Had I not had that routine test, where something had shown up, then I would have just gone on and on until it was perhaps too late to have done anything about it.

“And that’s why it’s really important for men to be aware of the facts of prostate cancer and understand their risk.

“One thing I would suggest is going on the Prostate Cancer UK website and to their risk checker page where you will quite quickly work out what your risk of having this disease is. And at least that is a starting point.

“I think there will be thousands and thousands of other men out there who aren’t aware of prostate cancer, as well as lots of men who find it difficult to talk about this sort of thing.

“It’s very important to not be afraid to have conversations because it is much better to discuss and address something early, than leave it until it is too late.”

Professor Waxman said: “It’s amazing that someone so public and so wonderful as Jools can stand up and shine a spotlight on prostate cancer bringing vital awareness of the cause and using his expertise to bring together such a star-studded line-up of guests.

“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. One in eight of our dads, granddads, partners, brothers or friends will get this disease. Music and comedy connect people so ‘Raise the Roof’ will light up our summer and enable conversations which can save lives.”

Professor Peter Johnson, national clinical director for cancer for NHS England, said: “As Jools’s experience shows, prostate cancer often has no symptoms when it’s at an early stage – so it’s vitally important that men are aware of their prostate cancer risk and feel comfortable discussing this with their GP. Only then can we help diagnose more men early on, before the cancer spreads.”

To join Jools Holland and special guests at The Royal Albert Hall visit prostatecanceruk.org/get-involved/raise-the-roof

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