Health

EastEnders star: How award saved my dad

Davood Ghadami as a child with his dad and brother Image copyright Davood Ghadami
Image caption Davood Ghadami as a child with his dad and brother

A chance opportunity for EastEnders star Davood Ghadami to give out an award resulted in his father's life being saved.

The actor, who plays Kush in EastEnders, was invited to present an NHS Heroes Award in 2018.

The recipient was Errol McKellar, a former mechanic who had prostate cancer.

After recovering from cancer, Errol had started offering MOT discounts to men - if they agreed to get their prostate checked out.

The awards ceremony was on TV, and watching at home was Davood's father, Mo - who says he watches everything his son is in.

After hearing Errol speak about prostate cancer on the programme, Mo decided to get himself checked out.

He had no symptoms, but given that he was over 50, he persuaded the doctor to do the initial tests.

Image copyright Davood Ghadami
Image caption Davood Ghadami (right) with his dad and sister

From there, he was referred to a consultant who told him he did have prostate cancer.

"I just collapsed," Mo said. "It's like a shutter went down.

"From then on, it was me against the world. My mind and brain were purely devoted to cancer."

While he was having treatment, Mo found it hard to be around Davood and his siblings.

"I couldn't see you people [his family] too much," he said, "because I was very emotional."

Davood, 36, said there followed a year with "a lot of pain and discomfort and fear" but in May 2019 the family got the news that Mo was free of cancer.

Davood took his dad to meet Errol.

As soon as he saw Errol, Mo started crying.

"I am sitting next to my angel," he said.

"I am very emotional but I'm trying to be a man and not cry. I would have been dead if it wasn't for him. I am here because of this man.'"

Errol said he only got tested because his wife had pushed him to do it.

"I tell men, we may call it nagging but that's what saved my life," he said. "I preach and promote the word nagging."

Image caption Errol McKellar (left) meets Davood Ghadami (right) and his dad Mo

For Davood, he is grateful that a chance opportunity to give an award ended up saving his dad's life.

"I'm very lucky to have my dad here with me," he said.

He wants to encourage more men to talk about prostate cancer and to get themselves checked out if they are at risk.

"Women have to go through their smear tests - there isn't that unity of thought with men where you go, 'we all know, when you hit an age or when you have these symptoms, you go and see a doctor,'" he added.


What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer kills about 11,800 men each year in the UK.

It usually develops slowly so there may be no signs or symptoms for many years.

The prostate is a small gland that sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra - the tube through which men urinate.

The chances of developing prostate cancer increase with age. Most cases develop in men aged 50 or older.

Men with close family members affected by prostate cancer, such as fathers or brothers, are at slightly increased risk themselves.

For many men with prostate cancer, treatment is not immediately necessary - doctors may suggest watchful waiting or surveillance.

More aggressive prostate cancer will need immediate treatment, which includes surgery and radiotherapy.

The PSA test is a blood test to help detect prostate cancer. It isn't 100 per cent accurate and can give false positive or false negative results so it's important to talk through the pros and cons of having the test with a doctor first.

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