29 Nov 2013

New research, carried out by YouGov on behalf of Prostate Cancer UK, shows that 60% of men over 50 have never heard of the PSA blood test. 

One man dies every hour from prostate cancer in the UK, yet the majority have not heard of the simple blood test which can give the first indication of prostate cancer. The Prostate Specific Antigen – PSA - test is a simple blood analysis which shows there might be a problem with the prostate. To find out what this problem may be, your GP will ask you about any symptoms and can do a number of other tests.

It is currently the best available first step towards diagnosis and government guidelines state that any man over the age of 50 is entitled to have the test if he has discussed the pros and cons with a doctor or nurse professional – under what is called the Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme.

Prostate cancer can often be treated successfully if caught early, but we have released figures today, on the first day of The Times Christmas Appeal raising money to help us fight prostate ancer, that suggest alarming numbers of men in Great Britain have not heard of the PSA test – despite the role it plays in diagnosing the biggest cancer in men.

The research, carried out by YouGov on behalf of Prostate Cancer UK, states that a massive 71% of all men surveyed in Great Britain say they have not heard of the test at all. Even more worrying is that  60%1 of men  aged 50 and over have not heard of the test. Men over 50 are at higher risk of the disease and because of this are entitled to a PSA test on the NHS under current guidelines. 

Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of Prostate Cancer UK said: “Men are dying of ignorance. Low awareness of the PSA test means that lives may be lost every single day because men don’t know what is already available to them. It is impossible for a man over 50 to exercise his right to have a PSA test if he knows neither that it exists nor that he has a right to request one – and this has to change.

“Men are getting a raw deal and they deserve better.  We need to get together in a new and united approach - government, health professionals, men, the media and Prostate Cancer UK.  We all have to take responsibility for letting men know their risk and their rights, because although the PSA test is not perfect, it is the key way to start detecting the disease and potentially saving the lives of countless fathers, grandfathers and brothers.”

Prostate cancer is diagnosed in over 40,000 men every year in the UK. Men over 50 are at higher risk of developing the disease, and risk increases with age. Black men, and men who have a close family member with the disease, are also at greater risk.

“Searching for improved ways of detecting aggressive from non-aggressive prostate cancer is a key priority of Prostate Cancer UK’s research strategy, but until we have a better diagnostic process, we urge all men with any concerns about the disease, to speak to their GP without delay. It could be the most important conversation you ever have.”

If you have any questions about prostate cancer, speak to one of our Specialist Nurses on 0800 074 8383. 

1All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,011 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 22nd - 25th November 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

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