Throughout the duration of Prostate Cancer UK's Sledgehammer Fund campaign, Trustees from the charity have been sharing their own experiences of the disease as part of their mission to help crack prostate cancer once and for all. This has resulted in a number of excellent print interviews, raising awareness and improving understanding of the disease - both within the general public but also throughout the clinical profession.
Professor Roger Kirby, an eminent prostate cancer surgeon, was recently diagnosed with localised disease. Dr John Anderson is an internationally respected consultant urologist who is currently dealing with advanced disease. Both Trustees featured in a double page spread in the Daily Mail's 'Good Health' pages alongside fellow clinician Damian Hanbury. By being so open about their stories they hope to start to break down some of the taboos which still surround the most common cancer in men.
The piece had an excellent response, sparking a lift in calls to Prostate Cancer UKs helpline and generating further interest in the media. Just last week John, who is currently being treated with hormone and chemo therapies to contain his cancer, was interviewed at length on ITV's Calendar News which is broadcast across Yorkshire.
Roger, who has recently undergone surgery to remove his prostate after many years of being 'on the other side of the table', also featured in an in-depth interview for The Economist's Intelligent Life magazine earlier in the month. This candid report from the operating theatre is both a personal and professional perspective on a very delicate time.
Roger, John and Damian also featured in specialist publication 'Trends in Urology' in a discursive article authored by the group which was joined by the clinician, Sean Vesey. The piece looks at what can be learnt from their differing experiences to help improve the approach to prostate cancer in the future. It highlighted that, when it comes to treatment, it's absolutely not 'one size fits all'.
Seamus O'Farrell, Director of Communications at Prostate Cancer UK said: "This disease kills one man every hour, yet we still don't know nearly enough about it. I respect Roger and John hugely for being brave enough to share their personal journey's through treatment to help raise understanding of the issue. Both are clinical experts in the field and their unique viewpoints truly highlight how different every man's experience will be, and how much more there is to explore in terms of developing treatment, diagnosis and everything in between.
"We launched The Sledgehammer Fund campaign at the beginning of the year to start to address these challenges and bring about real change for men - raising the profile of the disease and generating cash to increase research and improve support services. Change is already starting to happen, but this is only the beginning, and we need to keep up the pressure and speak out as Roger and John have done. Together we can and must crack prostate cancer once and for all."