The most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK has been revealed.
Data analyzed by the charity Cancer ProstateUK have shown that prostate cancer has surpassed breast cancer to become the most commonly diagnosed form of the disease, with 57,192 new cases in 2018 – the latest available data.
This came right in front of 57,153 cases of breast cancer, 48,054 cases of lung cancer and 42,879 colon cancer.
Prostate Cancer said the news came a decade earlier than previously thought, largely due to increased awareness that caused more men to be diagnosed.
What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
According to the NHS, prostate cancer usually does not cause any symptoms until the cancer has grown large enough to put pressure on the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis (urethra).
Symptoms of prostate cancer include:
- need to urinate more often, often at night
- need to hurry to the toilet
- difficulty starting urinating (doubt)
- tense or take a long time when urinating
- weak flow
- feel that your bladder has not been completely emptied
- blood in urine or blood in semen
The NHS added: “These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have prostate cancer. Many male prostates get bigger with age due to a non-cancerous condition called prostate enlargement.
“Signs that the cancer may have spread include bone and back pain, loss of appetite, pain in the testicles and unexplained weight loss.”
‘New cases of prostate cancer have more than doubled over the past 20 years’
Famous people who have shared their stories include BBC presenter actor Bill Turnbulland and comedian Stephen Fry.
Analysis of new figures shows that new cases of prostate cancer have more than doubled over the past 20 years, while around 400,000 men in the UK currently live with this disease or survive.
More prostate cancer is now being caught at a local advanced stage (stage III), when the disease is more treatable than if it had spread.
However, more men are also diagnosed at an early stage I, when cancer may never cause damage during their lives, and therefore close monitoring rather than aggressive treatment is recommended.
What does British Prostate Cancer say?
Angela Culhane, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Although this is good news that more men have had conversations with their doctors and were diagnosed beforehand, it only serves to reinforce the need not only for better treatments that can cure the disease, but for a better test that can distinguish between aggressive prostate cancer that requires immediate treatment and which is unlikely to cause harm.
“We need more research now than ever before, which is why it’s so disappointing that so much has been stalled by the Covid-19 crisis.
“Accelerating research to recover from this major setback will cost millions, but at the same time we expect an unprecedented decline in funds due to the impact of this pandemic.”
The charity warned that the Covid-19 pandemic led to a reduction in referrals for all types of cancer, including prostate cancer.
Culhane said: “We know that the Covid-19 pandemic will have a large effect on the diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer for some time to come.
“But when services start to return to normal, it’s important for anyone who is worried about the risk of prostate cancer talking to their doctor or contacting our specialist nurses – especially if they have symptoms.
“The men most at risk are those aged 50 years and over, black men and men with families history disease. ”
What did Bill Turnbull say?
Mr Turnbull said: “It is really very humbling that by sharing my experience of myprostate cancer, I might have helped more people come forward to have important conversations with their doctors and eventually be diagnosed faster.
“But with prostate cancer now the most common cancer diagnosed in the UK, what we really need now is research to ensure that men get the best tests and treatments.
“Sadly, Covid-19 has interrupted so much of this important research, which is why I support fundraising efforts for Prostate Cancer UK.
“This is a difficult time for many of us, but whatever you can do will help to ensure we don’t lose momentum in the fight against prostate cancer.”
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