Gabby Logan addresses sexual dysfunction taboo, after husband Kenny's prostate cancer diagnosis

·9 min read
Gabby and Kenny Logan have opened up about his prostate cancer journey, pictured in October 2021. (Getty Images)
Gabby and Kenny Logan have helped to raise awareness about prostate cancer, pictured in October 2021. (Getty Images)

Gabby Logan has opened up on her state of mind after Kenny Logan was initially diagnosed with prostate cancer, including that she "never entertained the idea that he might die".

The TV sports presenter, 49, and the former rugby player, 50, first spoke publicly about his diagnosis in September after keeping it a secret.

In a new YOU magazine interview, she has now told journalist Kate Spicer, "We never had any conversations about mortality or the impact it may have on us as a couple – all that was secondary.

"When you weigh up him potentially dying versus him losing some sexual function, first and foremost all it was about was keeping him alive."

Read more: UK's four most common cancer types – the signs and symptoms to be aware of

They previously urged other men to be aware of the symptoms of the cancer and not delay in going for a check up.

"I was really positive right up until the day of the operation, when I spent a few strange hours wandering alone around Borough Market [in London], waiting for the call from his urologist," she added.

Kenny underwent an operation to remove his prostate.

In the aftermath of his cancer, the couple decided to do an episode about it on her podcast The Mid.Point, in which they bare all – in very specific detail. For example, Kenny discusses the effects of having his prostate removed, including describing waking in a pool of urine, and on another occasion telling Gabby he wanted to "show her" his recovering erectile function.

When asked by Spicer how that went, she replied wryly, "I think I'll keep that to myself."

Kenny and Gabby Logan. (Getty Images)
Gabby Logan shares why she and husband Kenny Logan eventually decided to share details about his prostate cancer. (Getty Images)

The pair kept Kenny's diagnosis, operation and recovery private for seven months, before then making the bold decision to share his experience in detail.

"This way, Kenny could fully own his story. We’ve always been honest people and aware of our privilege in that we have got a platform," explained Gabby in the new interview, acknowledging one of Kenny's best friends Tom (another Scottish rugby player) who died from bowel cancer.

"He’d ignored the physical signs. Through this we could talk to men of his generation," she added.

Speaking on the podcast, released on 7 September, the couple, who have been married for 21 years, detailed Kenny's experience of the illness through diagnosis and recovery.

He said he hoped to make “men of a certain age” aware of the risks and get the “simple” check-up.

After listening to his wife’s podcast, which deals with physical and mental health issues affecting middle-aged people, Kenny had gone to get checked by a doctor and received his cancer diagnosis.

“I think when somebody tells you’ve got cancer… you know that you’ve got a huge chance of getting it," he reflected. “But when somebody says it, it sort of just didn’t really sink in.

“I just got a bit upset, and it was hard, it’s weird.”

Watch: Retired rugby player Kenny Logan reveals prostate cancer diagnosis

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He added, “That’s why I want to do this because people do need to… men tend to be a bit stubborn. ‘We’ll do it tomorrow. Next weekend.’

“I didn’t realise and, you know, I lost a good friend this year through cancer, and he didn’t really do it quick enough.

“So… at his funeral, I was thinking I’d gone and got tested and he didn’t and I wish he had. So it’s hard.

Kenny was told that his cancer was contained in the prostate but an operation was required to remove it.

He said that despite receiving “a good kicking” during surgery he was on the road to recovery, though he described the process as “demanding”.

“I think the key thing is to be positive. You know, I’ve been lucky,” he said on the podcast.

“It’s a very simple process. So hopefully some people will go get tested off the back of this and hopefully save some people’s lives."

Read more: Here’s how to check for prostate cancer

He added: “Talk to your mates. Definitely talk to mates, be open. Don’t be scared to see how you feel.”

The couple promised to share future updates on Kenny's recovery progress.

Bill Turnbull, who died on 31 August at the age of 66 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017, also urged men to be aware of the symptoms of the illness.

He said inspiring men to get tested for prostate cancer by publicly revealing his own diagnosis was the “one useful thing” he has done.

Turnbull admitted he was “cross with myself” for the pride he had felt at not visiting a GP in four years.

The former BBC Breakfast and Classic FM broadcaster had prostate tests at the age of 40 and 50 but said the disease had already spread to his bones when he saw a doctor about the aches and pains he had been suffering, which he put down to “old age”.

Bill Turnbull
Bill Turnbull was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017. (PA Images)

Laura Kerby, Chief Executive of Prostate Cancer UK, believes high-profile figures such as Turnbull and Logan, sharing their diagnosis can help raise awareness.

“We want to thank Kenny, and the Logan family, for sharing his diagnosis publicly and using this as a moment to increase awareness of the most common cancer in men,” she said when the pair first spoke out.

“We at Prostate Cancer UK know first-hand the impact that a public figure speaking out like this can make.”

Turnbull’s campaigning led to prostate cancer becoming the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK for the first time in 2020, which Kerby said has “undoubtedly saved thousands of lives”.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer develops when cells in the prostate start to grow in an uncontrolled way, according to charity Prostate Cancer UK.

Some prostate cancers grow really slowly, meaning it won’t cause any problems, but other prostate cancers grow quickly and are more likely to spread.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, with more than 52,000 new cases every year – that’s 143 men being diagnosed every day.

Though it isn’t known exactly what causes prostate cancer, the condition is thought to be more common in African-Caribbean and African men, and less common in Asian men.

In the UK, one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, but this figure rises to one in four for Black men.

Men with immediate relatives who have it are also slightly more likely to have it themselves.

More than 12,000 men die from prostate cancer in the UK each year – that’s one man every 45 minutes.

Read more: Sarah Beeny, Olivia Newton-John and celebs who have shared their breast cancer story

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

Some prostate cancer develops slowly, so its symptoms may not show for many years, and might never cause any problems in your lifetime.

The signs of prostate cancer often only become noticeable when the prostate is enlarged enough to affect the urethra – the tube carrying urine from the bladder to the penis.

According to the NHS, prostate cancer symptoms can include:

  • needing to pee more frequently, often during the night

  • needing to rush to the toilet

  • difficulty in starting to pee (hesitancy)

  • straining or taking a long time while peeing

  • weak flow

  • feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully

  • blood in urine or blood in semen

But these symptoms do not always mean you have prostate cancer. Many men’s prostates get larger as they get older because of a non-cancerous condition called prostate enlargement.

For some men the first symptoms of prostate cancer occur when it has spread beyond the prostate gland to the bones and these can include back pain, loss of appetite, pain in the testicles and unexplained weight loss.

Whatever pain, discomfort or symptoms you feel, it is always best to discuss these with your GP.

Read more: Bill Turnbull and Linda Nolan urge public to not delay cancer checks

prostate cancer appointment
Men have been urged to be aware of the symptoms of prostate cancer. (Getty Images)

How is prostate cancer diagnosed?

Paul Erotocritou, consultant urologist at BMI King’s Oak Hospital in North London, says GPs can use a number of tests to diagnose the condition.

“A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test detects whether there is a rise of the PSA protein in the blood that might indicate prostate cancer,” he previously told Yahoo UK.

“There is also a urine test to detect whether an enlarged prostate might actually be an inflammation of the gland.

“Your GP may also be able to feel an enlarged prostate through the wall of the bowel.”

Further hospital tests may include more advanced options such as a prostate biopsy, MRI, CT or ultrasound scan or prostate mapping.

Read more: This 10-minute scan could tell if you are at risk of prostate cancer

Risk factors of prostate cancer

While it isn't known exactly what causes prostate cancer, there are a number of factors that could increase your risk of developing the condition.

According to the NHS these include:

  • age – the risk rises as you get older, with most cases diagnosed in men over 50

  • ethnic group – prostate cancer is more common in Black men

  • family history

  • obesity – recent research suggests there may be a link between obesity and prostate cancer

  • diet – research is ongoing into the links between diet and prostate cancer

Treatments for prostate cancer

If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, there are several possible treatments available, including monitoring a slow-spreading cancer, radiotherapy, hormone therapy and removal of the gland.

“It’s best to discuss treatments and side effects with your doctor,” said Erotocritou.

Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer can contact Prostate Cancer UK's specialist nurses in confidence on 0800 074 8383 or online via the Live Chat instant messaging service at www.prostatecanceruk.org.

The specialist nurse phone service is free to landlines and open from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, with late opening until 8pm on Wednesdays.

Additional reporting PA.