Raising our game

Prostate cancer kills one man every hour and the number of men with the disease is rising at an alarming rate. While it is already the most common cancer in men, it is predicted to become the most prevalent of all cancers in the UK by 2030.

Millions more men have their lives blighted by benign prostate disease.

One major problem is that prostate cancer is simply not on the radar. Most men understand very little about it or the risks they face as they get older. There is also, unfortunately, a very real legacy of neglect to overcome within healthcare and research. Tests for diagnosing prostate disease are often unreliable, there are widespread differences in care, and many men are faced with a confusing array of treatments which often carry big risks of damaging side effects.

It is absolutely imperative that the issue is lifted far higher on the nation’s health agenda. We are working with health professionals and policy makers to give it the prominence it deserves and to ensure that quality services are available when and where men need them.

Prostate Cancer UK is raising its game in the fight against prostate disease. And we are proud to have joined forces with fellow charity, Prostate Action, merging to pursue a common purpose: To help thousands more men survive and enjoy a better quality of life.

We pledge simply to make life better for men with prostate cancer and all other prostate disease. Whether by providing the support they need now, finding answers for the future through research, or leading change in care.

We set out here – in the UK’s most significant and ambitious plan in the history of men’s health – what we will be doing to deliver on this pledge over the next three years and beyond.

We cannot transform the landscape for prostate cancer, and benign disease, alone. With the generosity of our partners, The Movember Foundation, we have funds to start our journey. But to make the future truly better for men, we must mobilise and inspire many more supporters and funders.

This is our MANifesto; a call to arms bringing people together to make a real difference. And we are doing all these things for one reason: Men deserve better.

The big issue

More than ten thousand men die of prostate cancer each year. That’s more than one man dying every hour of every day. And there are over a quarter of a million men living with the disease in the UK today. It’s as big an issue for men as breast cancer is for women.

The good news is that prostate cancer can often be successfully treated, if it’s diagnosed early. But there is a lot less good news.

The number of men identified with prostate cancer is growing fast. It’s predicted to become the most common of all cancers in the UK over the next decade or so. Gradually, people are starting to become more aware of the disease, but they still often understand very little about it.

The best blood test for identifying prostate cancer is unreliable. At the moment, no test can consistently tell who has the life threatening form of the disease. And if it is identified at a late stage, there is currently no cure.

The various treatments for the disease can all pose significant risk of side effects including incontinence, loss of sex drive and difficulties having sex; these have a powerful impact on men’s bodies and their psychological health.

There’s no universal agreement about how best to treat the disease in its early stages and NHS treatment varies significantly across the UK.

In addition to the issues raised by prostate cancer, millions more men face pain and misery associated with benign prostate disease. Indeed, over half of all men will contract some form of prostate disease in their lifetime. Not nearly enough is known about the prevalence, causes or the best way to treat all forms.

And, as we all know, many men find it very difficult to talk about their health, especially when it involves issues below the belt.

Right now, we can’t solve these problems quickly. So we are fighting to ensure that all men facing prostate cancer and prostate disease get the best possible information, the best possible care and the best possible help in dealing with the effects of diagnosis and treatment.

But what we really want is to find better methods of diagnosis and better treatments without side effects so that we wouldn’t need to do any of this. With more help, we can fund the research that will find the answers.

No-one knows more about prostate cancer and prostate disease than we do.
The problem is, we don’t know nearly enough. 
We are passionately committed to learning and doing more to affect change.
We need support and money to deliver better services today and find answers tomorrow.

What is our belief?

Our heritage is founded on a sense of outrage that men with prostate cancer were – and still often are – given a raw deal; insufficient clinical knowledge about the nature of the disease; totally inadequate diagnostics; and treatments which all too frequently result in unnecessary physical and psychological damage. This sense of injustice runs through all that we do and we will work tirelessly to change the status quo. Men deserve better.

What is our purpose?

  • To help more men survive and enjoy a better quality of life

What do we want?

  • The best diagnosis, treatment and support for all men with prostate cancer and other prostate diseases, and to cure or to prolong life without unwanted side-effects

What do we do?

  • Support men living with prostate cancer and prostate disease, and the effects of treatment, by providing specialist information and support services.
  • Find answers by funding research into the causes and treatment of all prostate disease.
  • Lead change by campaigning, creating conversations and co-operating with others.

Our MANifesto

We are embarking upon one of the most ambitious and comprehensive improvement programmes in the history of men’s health in the UK. Much of our funding currently comes from our incredible partner, The Movember Foundation. We also benefit from the generosity of many other critically important supporters.

It means we can start to invest in unprecedented levels of cutting-edge research. It means we can start to create and deliver the best information, care and support available. And it means we can start to reach many more people and bring them together in a powerful movement for change.

Investing to find answers

We will spend around £25million – tripling our investment – over the next three years in world class research to identify better diagnosis and treatments for all stages of prostate cancer.

Seek a ‘new generation test’ capable of identifying those with an aggressive form of prostate cancer to improve their chance of survival and reduce risk of unnecessary treatment in others will be an absolute research priority.

Invest in identifying those most at risk of developing aggressive forms of prostate cancer, ensuring they can receive the right tests and advice at the right time.

Channel funds into developing better, and more individual, treatments for men whose cancer has spread beyond the prostate.

Prostate disease is being put under the microscope as never before. We will search for more effective, less invasive tests, and treatments with fewer side effects.

Investing to support men

We will significantly increase our investment into support services with a range of innovations designed to reach men where and when they need support.

Our well-respected services will be extended to reach more men where they live, through community support and a team of expert nurses on the ground, filling the gap between hospital treatment for prostate cancer and care by a GP.

We will train and educate more health professionals about all prostate diseases, ensuing they have the best information to share with patients. We will work with them to share knowledge of innovative practice, developing standards for best quality care.

We will reach many more men and support them through our telephone and email helpline services. And make new, accessible digital information available, helping men understand about risk, treatments and side effects.

Investing to lead change

We have joined forces with fellow charity, Prostate Action. Together we will be stronger, forming one united force in the fight against prostate cancer and prostate disease.

The coming together of the two main charities in the men’s health arena demonstrates our commitment to build momentum and to do far, far more for men.

Our combined resources and expertise will make the way clearer both for men seeking advice, and for those who support and work with us.

Speaking louder with a direct and single voice, we will be even more effective in achieving our aim of giving men’s health the prominence it needs and influence others to wake up, take action and change behaviour.

Raising our voice

Prostate Cancer UK has a distinctive new identity. We have created this to make us stand out and be noticed. We want to be, and be seen to be, the strongest possible representative for men across the nation.

We also want to be heard loud and clear. Our first ever mass media communications campaign is launching over the coming months. And there is a commitment to invest significantly and consistently across the next three years.

The broad aim is simple: to wake up the nation

Provoking everyone to see and ‘feel’ the scale of the disease and to appreciate the impact it has on too many men, their loved ones and friends.

The ‘business’ objective is twofold:

  • To stimulate the generation of charity-owned funds on a massive scale
  • To build our ‘market penetration’; getting a far higher proportion of diagnosed and at-risk men to call us, visit and download from our website, and receive our gold standard support information

We are not afraid to ‘rattle the cage’. We simply have to do so in order to draw together a powerful coalition of healthcare professionals, politicians, the media... as well as men and their families... to redress the injustices surrounding prostate cancer and prostate disease.

Simply put, compelling and challenging communications will play a vital role in creating a movement for change. Nudging all those who can to help through education and understanding, raising funds and influencing improvements.

This is not simply about the oft-used term, awareness. Although that is clearly essential. More importantly it’s about changing behaviour amongst the population, amongst donors, amongst supporters and amongst healthcare professionals and politicians.

It is ultimately and accountably an investment in a better future for many more men. As we must always remember, we are doing this for one reason and one reason only: men deserve better.

How can you help?

Everyone with a father, husband, partner, brother, son, or best mate, has a vested interest in this cause.

The breast cancer movement is an inspiration to us. We need to create the same sense of momentum, inspiration and galvanising spirit.

How can you help?

Whether you

  • donate, and/or
  • make a point of talking about the disease to loved ones, and/or
  • write an article, and/or
  • take up the charge for a constituent, and/or
  • climb a mountain and/or give our information to a patient, and/or
  • just shout really loud about the injustice men face

...you will be helping us to make this MANifesto a reality.