Luton Town deputy director and recruiting director Mick Harford is urging men to undergo prostate exams after their own cancer diagnosis.
Luton has announced that club legend Harford will be stepping down from the club to undergo radiation treatment in mid-August.
The 62-year-old man was diagnosed with cancer in December 2020 but continued to work with the Hatters during the Covid-19 pandemic.
One in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their life. It is the most common cancer in men and the likelihood of developing it increases with age.
Harford says he made his diagnosis public because he wanted to encourage men to get tested and raise awareness about how often the disease can be.
“The main reason I spoke is to encourage people to go for testing. I want to educate people about the disease and know that anyone can get it,” he said.
“It comes in varying degrees. I hope that with my meds and the consultants I see, I am in the right place.
“First of all, I thought of the Luton Town fans. If I could help some men who come to Kenilworth Road, I would be happy. If I can help anyone, anywhere, I would be happy.
“I want to spread it and I hope I can help some people by spreading the word.
“We tried to be silent, but got to the point where we thought the best thing to do was talk and help as many people as possible.”
Harford says he was surprised by the diagnosis as he learned about the work Prostate Cancer UK does and its importance in football, after seeing presenter and charity ambassador Jeff Stelling promoting them on the Soccer show Saturday from Sky Sports News.
“Sometimes you think you are invincible as a sportsman, you won’t be affected, but we are vulnerable,” he said.
“I don’t know how I got it, but I have a feeling it was my way of life, the wrong diet, not living properly. Focus on getting rid of it.
“It’s a fantastic positive outlook. This is where I am, the symptoms are not very pleasant, I’m up and down in the middle of the night. It’s very slow, I go to the bathroom and it takes an eternity It’s all kinds of different things and it’s not very pleasant.
“I was still looking at the badge on Jeff Stelling’s jacket on Sky Sports News on Saturday afternoon – I never thought it would be me, to be honest with you.
“I knew what it was, (the message from Prostate Cancer UK) was being delivered through football. I was fully aware of it, but we footballers and men think we are invincible. It can catch you at any time. Please get tested and make sure you are okay. “
Harford admitted he was overwhelmed as many figures in the football community, including his former clubs Sunderland, Birmingham, Derby and Lincoln, all took to social media for their full support.
“I was overwhelmed by the support I received. I received messages from all kinds of people, and my family and I have so much appreciation.
“The support from the club, staff, board and players has been brilliant and very understanding. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
Harford, who has changed his lifestyle since being diagnosed, will now undergo up to 12 weeks of daily radiation therapy as part of a three-year treatment plan.
“It’s not an operation (for me). The cancer has spread to some areas,” he explained.
“There are side effects to the drug, it can make you very depressed some days. It’s a three year course for the drug.
“The treatment I get is called targeted radiation therapy. It will last 10 to 12 weeks every day. Some people have different side effects, I hope I don’t.
“As soon as I found out about my diagnosis, I tried to change my lifestyle, eat better, exercise and try to lose weight.
“I removed alcohol from my diet and I feel good about it. I feel good on the outside but on the inside it’s not that good. I will keep fighting and stay strong. , I just want to encourage people.
“I hope I am in a better place and recover sooner because of this, but it will take three years of medication to go away. If it comes back after that, I have a problem.”