QEQM Hospital nurse inspired to write book following family tragedy

Thadeus Matemba with the book he has written about prostate cancer

By Liz Crudgington

A nurse whose father died of prostate cancer has written a book to raise awareness of the condition.

Thadeus Matemba, who works on Deal ward at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, also lost his mother just days after his father’s death, as she passed away the day before his funeral.

He hopes the book, Understanding Prostate Cancer, will help other families facing the condition. It is written from his experiences nursing his father as well as other patients in his role with East Kent Hospitals Trust.

Thadeus said: “My father’s cancer was not diagnosed until it had spread, so I want to raise awareness of the symptoms so people can be checked earlier.

“I want other families to have the knowledge, so lives can be saved.

“It is important my parents are not forgotten, and the book is one way of remembering them. I think they would be so proud, and would know their deaths were not in vain. If the book can save one life it would be fantastic.”

Thadeus’s mother and his siblings helped care for his father, and he died peacefully three years ago aged 75.

His mum died just days later and they were laid to rest together near their home in Tanzania. She was 72.

He said: “My mum was previously well but she just couldn’t bear my father’s death. I think she died of a broken heart.

“I was a third-year student nurse at the time and I wrote about prostate cancer for my dissertation. That was where the idea of a book came from.

“It did take a lot of research and time, and at one point I almost gave up, but my friends encouraged me to continue.”

The book was self-published and will be available on Amazon at the end of September. There are also copies in libraries across the Trust for staff to refer to, and Thadeus has shared it with colleagues.

It covers what prostate cancer is, its causes and how to mitigate the risks, treatment options and how to live well with prostate cancer.

Around 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the UK, with black and ethnic minorities more at risk, according to research.

Thadeus said: “The response has been overwhelming, lots of people have asked for copies. It is dedicated to my parents, but also to other families who are taking care of their loved ones with prostate cancer.

“A lot of it is relevant to cancer in general and it has a message of empowerment and hope about treatment options and the importance of a healthy lifestyle in reducing the risks.”

He hopes to donate some of the proceeds from the book to charity Prostate Cancer UK.