For the first time, more men are dying from prostate cancer each year than women are from breast cancer, making the male disease the third biggest cancer killer in the UK. We find out why and urge the public to help us raise the £120 million we need to curb the trend.
New figures – released by us today – reveal that 11,819 men now die from prostate cancer every year in the UK, compared to 11,442 women dying from breast cancer. It means the male-only disease is now the third most common cancer to die from, after lung and bowel cancer.
Since 1999, the number of women dying from breast cancer has been steadily decreasing, while prostate cancer deaths are still on the rise. During that time, breast cancer has benefitted from a screening programme, significant investments in research and more than double the number of published studies compared to ones for prostate cancer.
Despite the alarming figures, the prospects for men with prostate cancer are actually better than ever, with men diagnosed today two-and-a-half times more likely to live for 10 years or more than if they were diagnosed in 1990. Yet due mainly to an increasing and ageing population, the number of men dying from the disease is growing.
Our chief executive, Angela Culhane, says: "It’s incredibly encouraging to see the tremendous progress that has been made in breast cancer over recent years. But with half the investment and half the research, it’s not surprising that progress in prostate cancer is lagging behind.
"The good news is that many of these developments could be applied to prostate cancer and we’re confident that with the right funding, we can dramatically reduce deaths within the next decade."
We believe we need to fund around £120 million of research over the next eight years to reverse the trend and achieve our 10-year goal to halve the number of expected prostate cancer deaths by 2026. And we’re asking the public to help raise the vital funds needed by signing up for one of our March for Men walks.
"Plans to create an accurate test fit for use as part of a nationwide prostate cancer screening programme, as well as developing new treatments for advanced prostate cancer are already well underway. But to achieve these aims, we need to increase our investment in research.
"We’re calling on the nation to sign up to a March for Men and help us raise the funds we desperately need to stop prostate cancer being a killer."
Now in its second year, our March for Men events have grown to include a further four organised walks in June in Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham, in addition to ones in Glasgow, Leeds, and London. Each walk is taking place in a beautiful local park with the option to walk two, five or 10 kilometres, and participants will be encouraged to fundraise through sponsorship in their own bid to help beat prostate cancer.
Professional dancer and Celebrity Big Brother housemate, Wayne Sleep, was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer in 2015 and will be leading the London March for Men for the second year running.
"I was one of the lucky ones," says Wayne. "Thankfully my prostate cancer was detected early and I received treatment before it spread elsewhere. But thousands of other men are not so lucky, and every year prostate cancer continues to claim the lives of nearly 12,000 fathers, brothers, partners, and friends. This must stop."
Football fans in London and the South East will also have the option to take part in an epic series of marathon marches on Sunday 22 July, all converging on Wembley Stadium for an amazing finale. Football’s March for Men will see legions of walkers 'marching to the Arch' from West Ham United, Millwall, St Albans City and Sutton FC, taking in 15 other football clubs en route.