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World Cancer Day: encouraging men to put their health first

A three-year campaign, running from 2022 to 2024, focuses on ‘Closing the Care Gap’

Cancer Research UK

International World Cancer Day on 4 February raises awareness of cancer and encourages prevention, detection and treatment. The awareness day focuses on the power of working together, with a three-year campaign currently underway, running from 2022 to 2024, focusing on ‘Closing the Care Gap’.

In 2022, the first year of the campaign focused on understanding and recognising the inequities in cancer care around the globe. This year, the theme centres around ‘uniting our voices and taking action’, which will celebrate real-world progress across many forms, allowing that momentum to fuel the fight for equality in cancer care.

It is important for people in all countries to feel comfortable talking openly about their health and to be able to encourage others to do the same. These conversations can help make people more aware of the different types of cancer that affect over 375,000 people in the UK every year.

One of these is prostate cancer. This is the most common type of cancer affecting men in the UK, with over 52,000 new cases every year. Many men do not have any symptoms of prostate cancer or, if they do, these symptoms, such as a weak flow when urinating or a loss of bladder control, are often ignored as simply being part of getting older.

The European Association of Urology (EAU) guidelines say that a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test should be automatically offered to all men over 50, those over 45 who have a family history of prostate cancer and men of African-American descent, as regular screening. However, unlike for breast cancer, there is no routine screening for prostate cancer to identify those men who are at risk.

Prostate cancer is treatable, with research suggesting that treatment at stages one and two has a near 100% survival rate, compared to around 50% at stage four.

Treatment options, especially when the cancer is diagnosed at a less aggressive stage, such as Low-Dose-Rate (LDR) Brachytherapy, offer men with prostate cancer improved outcomes and quality of life, with low complication rates due to being minimally invasive, enabling them to return to normal daily activities just days after treatment.

Like many men, Alan Kerr, a 65-year-old from Stirlingshire, did not know what a PSA test was before he was told that he had a raised PSA level and was later diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Kerr said: “One of the biggest issues is that a number of my friends that I have recommended to have a PSA test have gone to the GP and the GP either says they don’t offer PSA tests, or you have to have a reason for it. And yet every single person that I've talked to that has had prostate cancer has had zero symptoms.

“The PSA test should be offered as a standard test for men over the age of 50, similar to breast cancer screening for women. This is the biggest cancer problem for males in the UK and I just find it [astonishing] that we don't do that already.”

Article by

3rd February 2023

From: Healthcare



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