01 March 2018
The number of men dying from prostate cancer has overtaken female deaths from breast cancer for the first time in the UK, new government figures have this week revealed.
The latest figures - taken from 2015 and announced at the end of January - show there were 11,819 deaths from prostate cancer compared with 11,442 from breast cancer, making prostate cancer the third most common cause of cancer death in the UK. It is already the most common diagnosed cancer in men by some distance, accounting for around 46,000 diagnoses per year.
The causes of prostate cancer are largely unknown but the risk of developing the disease increases in men over 50, black men, and in those with a positive family history of the disease. However, these groups account for only a small proportion of newly diagnosed cases, many of which don’t have any symptoms at all.
As Mr Tom Walton, a Consultant Urologist at Spire Nottingham Hospital explains, “in the past many men with prostate cancer presented with symptoms of advanced disease such as weight loss, back pain and difficulty urinating, but by this stage it is often too late. The key to curing prostate cancer is early diagnosis, and fortunately there are simple tests available to allow early detection before symptoms develop”.
He explained, “The combination of a digital rectal examination (a finger examination of the prostate via the back passage) and a blood test known as prostate-specific antigen (PSA) can be used to identify significant prostate cancer. Both tests can be done quickly and simply and if both are negative no further investigations are necessary.”
“It is important to use this Prostate Cancer Awareness Month to encourage more men to be tested but the message needs to be going out all through the year. Early detection can save lives so take the test – whatever month it is!
“The good news is that, if spotted in time, prostate cancer is very treatable with latest figures showing that 84% of those treated live for 10 years or more after treatment.”
Prostate Cancer Facts
- Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men
- Over 46,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year – that's more than 120 men every day
- Every hour one man dies from prostate cancer – that's more than 10,500 men every year
- 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime
- Over 330,000 men are living with and after prostate cancer.