It's been a busy time at Prostate Cancer UK. Many really exciting changes have been happening in quick succession, all in the name of raising the profile of prostate diseases and ensuring that men across the UK are given a much better level of support and hope for the future. Hot on the heels of the launch of our new brand and identity we were delighted to complete a merger with Prostate Action, which saw us pool our resources and become a more unified voice in the battle against prostate cancer and prostate disease.
These changes have been necessary as part of our mission to get prostate cancer higher up the political, research and media agendas – but we are acutely aware they are not enough in and of themselves. We need long term plans to bring about real change for men with all prostate diseases, starting now. That’s where our MANifesto comes in.
At its launch on the 4th October, I described our MANifesto as “the most significant and ambitious plan in the history of men’s health.” A bold claim? Perhaps. But one I am proud to have made and stand by absolutely. I hope you’ll agree with my assessment.
The MANifesto is bursting with new ideas and a determination to move up a gear in the battle against prostate cancer and prostate diseases. I can’t possibly do justice to the full content of the MANifesto in this short blog, so if you get a moment please do read it yourself to get a feel for the scale of our ambitions for men.
However there are three key themes that form the backbone of our aspiration and will shape all of our activity over the coming years:
Firstly - thanks to the support of our friends and partners at The Movember Foundation - we are tripling our research spend to £25 million over the next three years, making us the largest single funder of prostate cancer research in the UK. The main focus of this record spend will be to find a more accurate diagnostic test, to establish a means of distinguishing aggressive from non-aggressive tumours and to develop new and less invasive treatment options. This unholy trinity of prostate cancer questions cannot continue to go unanswered. Cracking them is what our historic investment is all about.
Secondly, as well as finding answers for the future, we will do much more to support the millions of men who are living with prostate diseases right now. We will be significantly increasing our investment into support services throughout the country, including innovations to reach men in their communities and provide help to men when and where they need it. This includes making new information available to men, including the boosting of our unique telephone and email helpline services.
Thirdly, we are going to invest in raising our voice, in order to enable us to lead significant change. We already have a distinctive new identity created to make us stand out and be noticed, now we are planning our first ever mass media communications campaign. The campaign will be launched in the coming months and the broad aim is simple – to wake up the nation: to change behaviour amongst the population, donors, supporters, healthcare professionals, and politicians - because men deserve better.
These three areas merely touch the surface of our ambitious programme for change, but it’s an ambitious programme from which we cannot shrink. To do so would not just be a disservice to men who have been overlooked and neglected for far too long. It would be a disservice to the quarter of a million mo bros and mo sistas who raised a staggering £15 million for the cause last year. It would be a disservice to the posties at Royal Mail who chose us as their charity partner. It would be a disservice to staff at The Football League, its clubs and supporters who voted to back us for the 2012/13 season. It would be a disservice to the London Marathon runners who teamed up with Breast Cancer Care to raise over £1million. In short, it would be a disservice to everyone who does so much for Prostate Cancer UK for the sake of men affected by prostate cancer and prostate disease.
I firmly believe that the publication of our MANifesto at the beginning of this month marked a new dawn for men in this country. But it’s a dawn that sees us still in the foothills of our climb up a mountain. I am confident we are now fully equipped for the trek that lies ahead. Working together, with you, I am equally confident we can reach the summit where lives are no longer limited by prostate cancer or prostate disease.
So please read it, support it, share it and join us on the journey that lies ahead.