Much-loved comedian, Bill Bailey, is standing up to
front Prostate Cancer UK's new campaign to 'crack' prostate cancer
once and for all - as new statistics illustrate the continued
neglect around the disease.
The new figures show that, despite being the most common cancer
in men and the fourth most common cancer overall, prostate cancer
lies twentieth in the 'league table' of annual cancer research
spend per case diagnosed.
The figures, published today by Prostate Cancer UK, also show
that breast cancer - the most common female cancer which has a
similar death rate as prostate cancer - received more than double
the annual research spend (£853 per case diagnosed compared to £417
Although more used to making the nation laugh, it is statistics
such as these that have inspired Bill Bailey to help expose the not
very humorous facts behind this disease by becoming the front-man
of The Sledgehammer Fund.
Prostate cancer kills one man every hour and the number of men
with the disease is rising at an alarming rate. Already the most
common cancer in men, it is predicted to become the most common
cancer of all in the UK by 2030. (1)
Bill, 47, will appear in a series of television, digital and
print ads - scheduled to begin on January 1 - as Prostate Cancer UK
launches its first large-scale communications offensive. The
organisation is determined to change the fortunes of men's health
once and for all, and is waking up the nation to the impact of
prostate cancer, which affects over 250,000 men across the UK.
Bill, whose father in law has survived prostate cancer, is
determined to help Prostate Cancer UK expose the scale of the
disease, and the fact it has suffered a legacy of under-funding and
"I only campaign for the things I believe in," he said, "and I
feel very strongly about this. I read a news article about the
number of men affected by prostate cancer and I was shocked by the
figures. I had no idea it was so common - but, if caught early
enough, can be successfully treated.
"Blokes are not always good at taking care of themselves and,
even if they know they have a health problem, they often don't want
to talk about it - or they just hope it will go away.
"I want The Sledgehammer Fund to help change that. I hope the
advert that I've made for Prostate Cancer UK will get men talking
about prostate cancer and their prostates. The charity wants to
raise more money for research because there's a need for better
treatments and better ways of diagnosing prostate cancer - so the
deadlier tumours are caught, before it's too late.
"My father in law was diagnosed with prostate cancer, treated,
and now leads a fulfilling life so it can be done - but over 10,000
men every year in the UK are not so lucky."
The Sledgehammer Fund aims to generate cash to support Prostate
Cancer UK's ambitious work to increase research spend into the
disease, as well as improve the support men receive through the
delivery of world class services.
Bill added: "I hope this campaign will help bring prostate
cancer into the open and help Prostate Cancer UK give men a better
chance of beating this disease. If someone sees this commercial and
wants to find out more about prostate cancer or make a donation -
then for me it's been a success.
"To quote myself from the ad, do yourself a favour, do your Dad
a favour, do your son a favour, do mankind a favour … and get
giving. Help us crack prostate cancer once and for all."
The Sledgehammer Fund, which will run between January and the
end of March, will also feature a series of hard-hitting print ads,
which have been designed to 'rattle the cage', and set the issue
out in stark terms.
Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of Prostate Cancer UK, said: "Men in
the UK have a problem and they don't want to talk about it. Neither
do the wives and partners who will end up supporting them, the
doctors who will treat them, nor the politicians who will count on
their vote. Prostate cancer is the UK's best kept worst
"Prostate cancer is simply not on the radar in the UK. Even though
it kills one man every hour, that's 10,000 men each year, most men
and women don't know enough about it. We need to follow the lead of
the successful female movement against breast cancer and create a
real change for men.
"We are going to need a very big sledgehammer to crack prostate
cancer. This is more than a campaign. It is a call to arms and we
are delighted that Bill Bailey is joining us and leading the
charge. Men deserve better."
People are being urged to donate £5 to The Sledgehammer Fund by
to 70004, visiting prostatecanceruk.org or calling 0800 082
'League table' of government and charitable research spend per
case diagnosed by cancer type:
||Cases diagnoses annually in the UK*
||Government and charitable research spend**
||Approximate research spend per case diagnosed*** (£)
|Brain and Central Nervous System
* Source: Cancer Research UK, cases diagnosed in 2009 (most
** Source: National Cancer Research Institute, Government and
charitable research spend 2011 (most recent figures)
*** Source: Prostate Cancer UK, research spend per case
diagnosed, December 2012 (approximate figure based on 2009
diagnoses and 2011 research spend).
(1) Mistry M et al (2011) British Journal of Cancer 105: