Blackpool entertainer Joey Blower insists he is determined to beat prostate cancer and smash the taboo
For nearly 30 years, performer, comedian, and writer Joey Blower has brought life and laughter to the resort with his unique style and art for story-telling.
The resort legend, known for the 27 years he spent producing his show at the Merrie England Bar on North Pier, is self-described as a “bit naughty at times – a little bit cheeky but always totally truthful” and “tells it as it is – honest”.
And it was in his brutally honest and raw way Joey, 58, this week shared with his fans on social media his shock and devastation at being diagnosed with prostate cancer, although he has yet to receive a prognosis.
Having geared himself up for a new season of entertaining crowds at Viva, his new home after the end of his contract at the Pier last year, and a year out of the spotlight in the wake of the pandemic, Joey is now making it his mission to raise awareness of the disease and urge more men to get themselves tested.
The married father of four-year-old daughter Olivia, said: “I can’t stress enough I had no symptoms; none at all. There had been nothing wrong with me; nothing beyond a man of my age.
“If I hadn’t have had blood tests that had shown abnormal PSA [prostate-specific antigen] levels I wouldn’t have known.
“It’s been a time of mixed emotions. I’ve had up and down moments, particularly in light of how I got my diagnosis, but I’m not worried about the prognosis right now. I intend to beat it whatever it takes.
“What is more important is saving many more men. I will share and do whatever it takes just to reach someone else.”
Joey said his early signs of a risk of prostate cancer came as an “absolute fluke”. It was out of curiosity he decided to undergo a private hospital health check whilst holidaying in Thailand in 2019, which included a series of blood tests.
“It was for all sorts, vitamin deficiency, you name it,” he said. “I got a call to say the bloods had flagged a high PSA and they recommended I undergo further tests when I got back home.”
In the UK, about one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. The exact causes remain unknown but the disease usually affects men over 50.
Joey said: “The level was about eight and anything above four is a flag. I had a further biopsy and doctors found what they said was an undefinable growth and from that I was recommended to have six-monthly blood tests to monitor the PSA levels.”
Joey said that, with the outbreak of Covid, the backlog of appointments led to delays. He contacted his GP late last year and booked in a blood test with a nurse, which revealed his levels had risen again.
He was referred for another biopsy.
“It’s not pleasant, no, but the nurses were great and made it all very relaxed and we actually laughed through it,” he said.
“I shared a video of them going through it all on Facebook for people to see so others aren’t embarrassed or afraid of taking the test. It could happen to anyone, which is why it’s so important.”
Joey, who has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charitable causes through his career, intends to document his journey through the next few months to keep people informed of his progress and his treatment programme.
“Friends, family and fans have been so unbelievably supportive, I’m going to do right by all of them,” he said.