Blackpool entertainer Joey Blower’s prostate cancer diagnosis as he embarks on male awareness campaign

In Your Area - LancsLive

“If just one person goes to my show and then goes to book a test I know I’m doing something right.”

58-year-old Blackpool entertainer Joey Blower

58-year-old Blackpool entertainer Joey Blower (Image: Joey Blower)

Blackpool entertainer Joey Blower has been entertaining audiences, young and old in the town, since 1993.

Originally from Stockport, the 58-year-old has become a well-loved comedy legend and his shows, though a bit naughty and cheeky at times, aim to be truthful and honest often “telling it like is it.”

During his career of almost 30 years in the town, he raised close to a million pounds for different charities.

This includes over £210,000 given to Cancer Research and £38,000 to Jack Rigby, the son of Lee Rigby.

Comedians often draw on their own painful and personal experiences to tell their stories on stage and now the dad-of-two, who has a four-year-old and an older son, is drawing upon his own experience using his comic skills and his platform to get out a very serious message to a much wider audience.

Around six weeks ago, Joey rather unexpectedly found out he had prostate cancer and has had a rather unique journey in the lead up to his diagnosis – so much so that there aspects that he would now like to highlight to raise awareness.

Around two years ago the entertainer went on holiday with his family to Thailand and came across an offer for the equivalent of £50 for 18 different kinds of blood tests.

Comedian Joey Blower has raised almost £1m for different charities in his career

Comedian Joey Blower has raised almost £1m for different charities in his career (Image: Joey Blower)

Everything came back fine however he was told his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels produced by his prostate were high which could be an indication of cancer.

“This was completely contradictory to what I was told abroad and now looking back I realised I should have had an MRI scan a lot earlier on because a scan eventually revealed undefinable growth,” Joey told LancsLive.

“They gave me a choice of whether to go for a biopsy or choose for it to be maintained.”

“I think to be given this choice was a mistake as most men are going to choose for it to be maintained and looking back I should have gone for the biopsy. ”

Blackpool comedian Joey Blower on stage

Blackpool comedian Joey Blower on stage (Image: Joey Blower)

Joey’s cancer diagnosis didn’t come until around six weeks ago when he visited the Ear, Nose and Throat department at Blackpool Victoria Hospital about an ulcer at the back of this throat.

Whilst at his appointment he was asked about what medication he was on and when Joey answered about high blood pressure the doctor then asked ‘what about your prostate cancer?’.

Joey stated he hadn’t had the results back yet to which the doctor told him his PSA levels were very high at 11.1.

After a call to the Urology department, it was revealed that Joey did in fact have prostate cancer and the hospital apologised for the way he found out.

Joey said: “I was initially shocked and upset and it was very distressing having to go home and tell my family. I’ve accepted what’s happened however and I honestly can’t say anything bad about the hospital as they’ve been wonderful.

“I’m now working as an ambassador with staff there to raise an awareness for prostate cancer.

“I don’t attach any blame to the amazing hospital staff for what happened but I think generally, when people are getting test results for any kind of cancer, there should be something like a red sticker on the files to show that the results haven’t been disclosed to the patient yet.”

Joey with Irish comedian Frank Carson

Joey with Irish comedian Frank Carson (Image: Joey Blower)

The comedian is now on a mission to raise awareness of prostate cancer as before his diagnosis he had no symptoms at all.

Joey came up with a simple, low cost, but effective idea to bring it into awareness.

As every public toilet has a male symbol at the entrance, Joey recognised that if this character was wearing a badge or it was underlined with ‘prostate cancer awareness’ followed by questions such as ‘do you know the symptoms’ it would get into the public consciousness a lot more.

Together with a sticker of symptoms placed either over or a sink or a urinal , the men’s toilets seems the best place to start and Joey approached Prostate Cancer UK with this idea .

Unfortunately the organisation said is not in a position to be able to implement this on a wide scale, particularly due to Covid-19, however they were more than happy to provide the logo if it was something he could begin.

Prostate Cancer UK logo

Prostate Cancer UK logo

Joey added: “I’m sure that service stations, football clubs, councils and many others would happily get involved even hospitals. There are campaigns like this which have worked amazingly such as the pink ribbon for Breast Cancer Awareness.

“I think a large part of the problem is the symptoms of prostate cancer can be particularly embarrassing. Men don’t want to necessarily talk about erectile dysfunctions, dry cum, urinary and excremental leakage.

“The doctor’s finger up the bum is also something men don’t want to go through however it lasts 30 seconds and can save your life.

“There’s also a misconception that prostate cancer is nothing to worry about because it’s so treatable. This is not the case and the treatment can have horrendous side effects similar to what to what woman in the menopause go through.

“Removal of your prostate is certainly no free lunch either. It’s vital that more men from around the age of 50 onwards need to go and get tested and start talking about their symptoms.”

After exploring every treatment available for his stage of cancer it has been agreed that Proton Beam Therapy is the best option for Joey’s quality of life post surgery.

This treatment is likely to cost in excess of £40,000 so a JustGiving page has been set up to try and raise funds so he can go to Prague for the treatment.

The target has been set a lot lower at £25,000 and anything that goes above will go to his four-year-old daughter Olivia to secure her future as there is always a worry that a secondary cancer could come back.

The entertainer feels more embarrassed about the page being set up and accepting donations however than he does talking about his own symptoms.

Joey Blower with cheque for Cancer Research for over £28,000

Joey Blower with cheque for Cancer Research for over £28,000 (Image: Joey Blower)

Joey said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the support and to be honest, I was quite embarrassed by the page being set up but so many people have made donations and contributed that it would be disrespectful for me not to accept.

“To be honest, it’s more about raising awareness and the lovely messages I’ve been sent for me which have kept going.

“Although prostate cancer isn’t a funny subject I have worked it into my shows and want to highlight in a humorous but hard hitting way.

“So far I’ve had around 20 people who have heard my story and gone to get tested. If just one person goes to my show and then goes to book a test I know I’m doing something right.”

To find out more about Joey’s prostate awareness campaign, and to donate to the cost of his Proton Beam Therapy, please visit the Just Giving Page here justgiving.com/crowdfunding/joeyblower1.