I was diagnosed with cancer back in 2018 and credit Tottenham coach and Charlton legend for saving my life

PROSTATE CANCER UK advocate Chris Powell is the reason Southend United fan Keith Smith believes he is still alive.

Back in 2018, the Shrimpers fan was diagnosed with prostate cancer by his GP.

Chris Powell is an advocate for Prostate Cancer UKGetty

Lucky for Smith, it was caught early.

The football supporter had heard Powell, who was manager of Southend at that point, champion the renowned charity.

So, Smith took on the now Tottenham coach’s advice and went for a check up.

Not only was prostate cancer detected, a small tumour on his kidney was also found.

Emotionally connected to Powell, Keith has stayed in touch with the Charlton legend.

The pair were recently reunited at an U21 fixture between Spurs and Brighton at Hotspur Way.

Keith told Tottenham Hotspur’s website: “Since I was diagnosed with cancer back in 2018, I’ve felt this kindred spirit with Chris.”

“I’ve got no doubt in my mind that if it wasn’t for Chris, I wouldn’t be standing here today, it’s a simple as that. I’ll be eternally grateful to him, he’s a top guy as everyone already knows and it’s just nice to catch up again.

“I’ve followed his career, seen him on the England bench, here at Spurs as well, so to be here today with him at the Training Centre is a real honour. The facilities here are brilliant, absolutely unbelievable, out of this world.

“I never realised, especially supporting a lower league team, how different it could be – everything is new, crisp, the people are so nice, the staff are so friendly… it’s absolutely fantastic and anyone who works for the club or plays for the club here is a very lucky person.

“My message now is the same as the one Chris gave me – it’s very important that awareness of prostate cancer is raised among the general public and to encourage people to get checked.

“My mantra has always been ‘a blood test won’t kill you, but prostate cancer can’ so everyone has that incentive to go. If you’ve previously had any cases of prostate cancer in your family, go and get yourself checked as well so that we can help to beat this disease.”

Today, Keith is an ambassador for Prostate Cancer UK along with Powell.

And they support the ‘Prostate FC’ initiative, which aims to raise awareness of the risk factors, fund research and save lives in every football club across the UK.

Powell said: “It means so much to me that I’ve got to know someone who was suffering from prostate cancer, who heard my message and is a survivor. Sometimes I don’t realise how big that is, to have helped save someone.

“If it wasn’t for my work and involvement with Prostate Cancer UK, we may have lost Keith but thankfully he’s still here to enjoy his life. It’s great that we’re still in touch – he loves football, he loves Southend, but I think I’ve got us another Spurs fan now!

“He and his wife were my guests to watch an Under-21 game and I know they couldn’t believe what the club is like in terms of the Training Centre, how it works and how great everyone here is. I just wanted to spend some time with him, as we’re both big ambassadors for the cause now.

“What I would say to any Spurs fan is to be aware of the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer, which include age, ethnicity and family risk.

“Fans can go on the Prostate Cancer UK website where there is so much information, including a brilliant 30-second risk checker which may save your life.

“More importantly tell your partner, your uncle, your brother and talk to your GP if you are worried. I get myself checked on my birthday every year – that’s my gift to myself – so that’s the way I remember.”

News Group Newspapers LtdPowell was a Charlton legend as a player[/caption]