Risk’s a funny thing. Something like jumping out of a plane or throwing yourself off a bridge with nothing but a bit of elastic attached to your legs can feel very risky. It’s a gamble - a ‘fingers crossed, close your eyes and pray’ moment. But a gambler always knows the odds. Nobody would strap on a parachute or tie on a bungee cord and take to the air if they didn't know the risk they faced was tiny (1 in 101,000 for Skydiving, 1 in 500,000 for bungee jumping, in case you were wondering). But men with prostate cancer don’t have this luxury.
We know that 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and that this statistic is even greater for black men – 1 in 4. Thanks to the results from a recent survey, we also now know that more than four in five men (83%) at increased risk of prostate cancer do not grasp that their chance of developing the disease is higher than average. What we don’t know is how to identify which men will get the aggressive, life-threatening form of the disease – their risk – or who will get the non-aggressive form. Without fully knowing your risk and faced with a diagnosis of prostate cancer, do you go for the invasive curative treatment with side effects that can include incontinence and erectile dysfunction, or wait and monitor how the disease develops? This sounds to me like jumping out of a plane and trying to work out when to pull the parachute without knowing how far away the ground is. With this in mind, imagine if we could start to solve this problem by finding a way for doctors to identify men likely to get aggressive prostate cancer before it even develops? We think this is possible and we’re ready to make the leap with your help. Today, we are launching our Seriously, how’s your Father? campaign to raise funds for essential research that will revolutionise how we detect and treat prostate cancer in the UK - and make a difference to men and dads for years to come. Successful ways to calculate a man’s risk already exist in other countries and we need to find one that works here in the UK. In January, we launched Men United v Prostate Cancer, our call to arms, and we've already had thousands of men and women sign up to Men United to help us beat this dreadful disease. Now we’re calling on Men United everywhere to help us raise money to fund research into a risk calculator. If we’re successful it could be ready to roll out across the NHS within the next five years. So, this Father’s Day, don’t buy your dad another pair of novelty socks he won’t wear, help us fund research into a risk calculator and send a Father’s Day £5 by texting DAD to 70004 or donate online.