Ugo Monye reflects on his time on Strictly Come Dancing
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Ugo Monye bravely told Express.co.uk in an exclusive interview that “fear” stopped him from visiting the doctor for a check-up after his dad sadly died of prostate cancer last year. The A Question of Sport star, 38, recently teamed up with Boots UK for the second series of the health and wellbeing podcast Taboo Talk, in which he discussed the taboo of pain in the world of sport with host Vogue Williams.
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Ugo opened up about the chronic pain he feels on a daily basis, as well as reflecting on the male tendency to ignore mental and physical ailments.
When asked about whether articulating feelings of pain was a particular problem for men, Ugo confirmed that he felt it was.
“Men, in general, aren’t good at talking about stuff,” Ugo began.
“And it’s not just physical health. It’s mental health. I think 75% of people who committed suicide (in 2020) were men, which is a stark statistic; it’s so disproportionate. Why?”
“I guess my conclusion is that we’re not very good at talking, sharing. I’m not. I need to get better and that’s not just physical pain. That’s mental health.”
The former rugby star proceeded to open up about his dad, who sadly died of prostate cancer last year.
He remembered: “My dad passed away last year due to prostate cancer.
“And I became nervous and worried. I was like, ‘Hang on, Black men are more likely to develop prostate cancer (and one in four of us will get it in our lifetime).’
“And it is the biggest killer, but it’s the most treatable, so the most natural thing for me to do was to go to the doctor.
“It took me two months – two months! And by the time I got there, I was in and out in 10 minutes.
“Like, what was the fear? It’s better if you know about these things – then you can treat these things early.
“It’s the same with mental health or any ailment where you’re just allowing things to slip.”
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Ugo, who suffers from chronic back pain, went on to implore his fellow men to seek help.
“I would urge all men to speak up and listen to your body,” he said. “Your body is the most honest thing you’ll ever possess in your life. Listen to it, do something about it, treat it.”
March is prostate cancer awareness month, bringing attention to an illness that more than 47,000 men are diagnosed with in the UK every year.
Visit https://prostatecanceruk.org/ to check your risk, learn about the condition and find support.
Ugo also spoke on the subject of his chronic back pain during the interview, which made his time with Oti Mabuse on Strictly Come Dancing last year particularly difficult.
“Now I’ve been retired for six years, dealing with chronic back pain has just become part of my norm,” Ugo admitted.
“I’m actually having back surgery on Monday and my symptoms…” he continued. “I mean, there’s not a moment of the day where I’m not in pain.
“I think as men, and especially sportspeople, you are almost disassociated with pain and are reluctant to do anything about it,” he said.
“Because, I guess, by taking an active stance and doing something, you’re perhaps admitting there’s something wrong and that there’s a problem to be fixed.”
Ugo kicked off the first episode in series two of the Boots health & wellbeing podcast Taboo Talk, where he discussed the topic of chronic pain with host Vogue Williams.
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