A worrying lack of awareness and knowledge are preventing men
from acting on concerns they have about the most common cancer in
men, new research has revealed today (Thursday 1 March).
Data commissioned by The Prostate Cancer Charity*, to time with
the launch of its annual awareness month, paints a hugely varied
picture of how misinformation and misunderstanding can stop men
seeking the help they need.
Prostate cancer is often a symptomless disease, and an awareness
of risk factors - such as getting older - is key for men being
vigilant against the disease. However, just one in three men over
45 (34 per cent) were able to identify any of the factors which
could increase their risk of the disease which kills one man every
hour in the UK.
A significant lack of action could also be holding some men back
from finding out they have the disease in time - with evidence
showing that less than half of men (48 per cent) concerned about
prostate cancer have visited the doctor.
Where a man lives is also appears to be an important predictor
in whether he will confront his concerns, with three out of five
men in South East England having visited the doctor, whilst
conversely the same proportion of men in London claim they have not
talked to a doctor about their worries.
This disturbing inaction is compounded by further evidence which
shows that almost over a quarter of men with a concern (27 per
cent) won't speak to a doctor because they simply believe prostate
problems are not urgent.
The Charity is using the awareness month to highlight the urgent
need for men across the country to be aware that prostate cancer is
a disease which can strike 'out of the blue' often without symptoms
or prior warning. The Charity wants to encourage all men over 50,
and younger men at a higher risk of prostate cancer**, to face up
to their health worries.
Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of The Prostate Cancer Charity,
explains: "It is disturbing to see so many men needlessly risking
their health by putting off confronting their concerns about
prostate cancer. Not all men who are worried about prostate cancer
will have the disease. Yet for those for whom this disease will
become a reality, a timely chat with their GP may make all the
"Interestingly, our research has shown that where a man lives is
also a big indicator of whether they speak to a doctor about their
health concerns, with men in some parts of the country almost twice
as likely to visit their doctor than those living just a few miles
away - in effect creating a postcode lottery of inaction which
"We certainly don't want men to panic about getting prostate
cancer as they get older, but equally with the government refusing
to make awareness of prostate cancer a priority, it is important
that men do take action on the disease."
During Prostate Cancer Awareness Month thousands of individuals
and groups across the UK will join forces to increase understanding
of the disease as well as its potential signs and symptoms. High
street retailer Marks & Spencer is also throwing its weight
behind the campaign and will be donating 10 per cent of the retail
selling value of selected shirts from M&S' Blue Harbour
range*** to The Prostate Cancer Charity between 1-21 March.
Specially designed pin badges and bottle openers will also be
available throughout the month, for a suggested donation.
Anyone wanting more information can visit www.prostateaware.org.uk
*The Prostate Cancer Charity commissioned Dr Foster Intelligence
to carry out a public awareness survey. 3,671 men and women
were interviewed face-to-face during February 2011 and results were