Prostate Cancer UK and the NHS have today joined forces to launch a campaign to find more than 14,000 men in the country who need treatment for prostate cancer but have not yet come forward.
Latest statistics released by NHS England show that urological cancer referrals in London have dropped by 9,700 (14per cent) since the start of the pandemic.
One in eight men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime. Men over 50, black men, or those whose father or brother had the disease are at even greater risk.
The publicity campaign will encourage men to use Prostate Cancer UK’s 30-second online risk checker to learn more about their level of risk and what action they can take, including getting checked by their GP if they are at higher risk.
The campaign will run across TV, radio, print, out-of-home advertising and social media from today.
Prostate cancer is very treatable if caught early, so men are being urged to check their risk “without delay”, so it can be found before the cancer spreads.
New figures show that prostate cancer accounts for one-third of those not treated for cancer compared to before the pandemic.
Previous NHS research found that half of people would delay coming forward to their GP during the height of the pandemic because they didn’t want to burden the health service.
More than 58,000 men in England have begun treatment for prostate cancer since April 2020, but that’s 14,000 fewer than would have been expected compared with pre-pandemic numbers.
NHS bosses and Prostate Cancer UK are now urging men to come forward and use NHS services, which remain open for anyone concerned about cancer.
Urological cancer referral rates in England were back at usual levels by the end of 2021, with overall levels of cancer referrals at record levels since March 2021, but the health service and charity are warning that they need more men to come forward to find the 14,000 men who they would usually expect but have not yet started treatment for prostate cancer.
Although men shouldn’t wait for symptoms, anyone who does experience symptoms such as problems urinating or needing to pee more often should speak to their doctor to get checked.
“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, but the pandemic has meant thousands of men have not come forward for diagnosis and could be missing out on life-saving treatment,” said Nicola Tallett of Prostate Cancer UK.
“Although thousands of men are still being treated each month, if things don’t change soon, the number of men missing out will continue to grow.
“Men have been telling us they haven’t wanted to ‘bother’ their GP during the pandemic – particularly if they don’t have any symptoms, which is the case for most men with early prostate cancer.
“This means men at higher risk of the disease are not having those vital conversations about their risk that can lead to a diagnosis.
“That’s why we’re working with NHS England to raise awareness and encourage men to take our risk checker to find out more about their risk and what they can do about it.”
Professor Peter Johnson, the national clinical director for cancer for the NHS in England, said: “I urge you to use the Prostate Cancer UK risk checker today – it is a quick and easy way to understand your risk of prostate cancer and how you can take further action if you are at risk. The simple check could be lifesaving.”
Check your risk using Prostate Cancer UK’s online risk checker at prostatecanceruk.org/riskcheck.
Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer can also contact Prostate Cancer UK’s specialist nurses on 0800 074 8383 (weekdays) or online at www.prostatecanceruk.org.
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