Mick Harford has promised to tackle prostate cancer with the same fierce spirit and courage that made him one of the best centre-forwards in English football.
‘This is the biggest fight,’ said 62-year-old Harford, after revealing his illness this week. ‘Mentally, it’s tough as everyone knows. It’s always at the back of your mind but I did fight my way to have a career and hopefully I can fight my way through this one.
‘I’ll have my ups and downs but at the moment I’m OK. I’m in good hands, the NHS have been amazing and, overall, I’m in a good place, staying positive and overwhelmed by all the messages of support. I’ll keep fighting and stay strong.’
Mick Harford will start a course of targeted radiotherapy next month after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in December
He has promised to tackle it with the same fierce spirit that made him one of the best centre-forwards in English football
Harford’s diagnosis came two days before last Christmas. He has been on medication since in an attempt to shrink tumours which had spread from his prostate to his groin and lymph nodes, making surgery impossible.
He will start a course of targeted radiotherapy next month, soon after the start of the new EFL season, and take time away from his job as assistant boss at Luton Town, one of 10 clubs he represented as a player.
‘A lot of us footballers think we’re invincible,’ said Harford, who won two England caps. ‘A lot of men are the same but it’s not true. This can catch you out at any time. Please, please take a test and make sure you’re OK. We are vulnerable to this disease. It’s the most common cancer among men.
‘We don’t know how we get it. I have a feeling it might be to do with my lifestyle: not living the right way in terms of diet and nutrition. When I found out I had this, I changed my diet, cut out alcohol, lost a bit of weight and have done more exercise.
He will take time away from his job as assistant boss at Luton Town, one of 10 clubs he represented as a player
‘I feel fantastic on the outside. On the inside, not so good. I’m not in pain apart from occasional back ache but I’m up and down to the toilet, and the flow is so very, very slow that it takes forever and as soon as I’ve finished I’m going back again two minutes later.’
Harford is determined to raise awareness. More than 11,500 men die from prostate cancer in the UK each year. The disease mainly affects men over 50, the risk increase with age and is higher for black men.
For more information and a 30-second online risk-checker go to www.prostatecanceruk.org.