We are Prostate Cancer UK. We want a future where lives are not limited by prostate cancer.
So we work to stop prostate cancer being a killer. We work to stop prostate cancer damaging bodies and lives.
We unite the brightest minds in science and healthcare and the most passionate and caring people to help men live long and live well. We do this because we have a big problem.
Men are dying
Too many men are needlessly dying of prostate cancer. The latest data shows that the number of men dying each year has gone up (again) and underscores the terrible fact that this disease is as big as breast cancer. The latest data shows that 12,000 men died of prostate cancer in one year. That’s 12,000 friends, brothers, lovers and dads like William’s, who died when he was just 12. Most of these men died because their prostate cancer was not detected early enough.
12,000 men died of prostate cancer in one year. That’s 12,000 friends, brothers, lovers and dads.
We want to stop prostate cancer killing men. And the work we’ve been doing has improved their chances of survival, but with the numbers set to continue rising, we have a lot of work to do.
Lives are being damaged
As well as killing men, prostate cancer and some of the side effects of treatment are damaging bodies and lives.
There are thousands of men whose treatment side effects have a lasting impact on their body and well-being. Men like Tony, Ally and Martin; and men like Joey whose body and sex life were changed by long-term hormone therapy. And thousands of men, like Kevin and Lloyd, who have to tell their kids that their cancer can’t be cured and whose best option is drugs that buy them a few more years.
There are thousands of partners, like Louise, who drop everything to be there in the last months, then have to pick up the pieces and carry on; and far too many teenagers, like Nana’s brothers, who lose their dad when they need him most.
The numbers are going up
As the population grows and ages and as we continue to raise awareness and make more men aware of their risk of prostate cancer, we will see many more men going to their GP with concerns. This will lead to a huge swell in the numbers of men being diagnosed and people needing support to deal with the disease. It also means more of the men we love and need are going to die.
By 2030, prostate cancer will be the most common of all cancers. That is only 10 years away, which means we’re on a countdown and we need to be ready.
By 2030, prostate cancer will be the most common of all cancers.
The futures of thousands of men across the UK depend on what we do in the next few years.
The good news
Thanks to the breadth and depth of our work over the last 20 years, we’re in a very strong position. We know exactly what needs to be done to reduce the numbers of men being killed and lives being damaged.
We know exactly what needs to be done to reduce the numbers of men being killed and lives being damaged.
We are the driving force in prostate cancer research in the UK, investing in the most promising science and building partnerships with other organisations and the global research community. Our bold, collaborative approach means we can get developments into clinics faster and lead innovative ventures, like our new ‘big data’ project to unearth information that could improve diagnosis, treatment and support.
Thanks to our experts’ analysis, we understand the scale of the problem, how it will play out over the coming years and what needs to be done right now to get us to a place where lives are not limited by prostate cancer.
We know how much money we need and we have a plan to help us raise it.
Our plan relies on thousands more passionate, caring, dedicated people joining us and investing their knowledge, influence, time and money to help us attack this problem. We can’t do it on our own.
To have the biggest possible impact for men with prostate cancer, those not yet diagnosed and future generations, we need to tackle these priorities.
This is the most critical part of our plan to stop prostate cancer killing men, because if it is caught early, before it has spread outside the prostate, there’s a chance it can be cured. This could have made all the difference to Nana’s dad.
How we’ll do it
We’ve worked hard to ensure that those at risk of the disease know the facts they need to protect themselves and that GPs make the best use of the tests we currently have. We’ll continue this work.
But to really crack this we need a UK-wide screening programme where men are invited for testing, like women are for breast cancer.
So we’re working with experts to identify the best route to screening. This will help us understand whether recent improvements in the approach to diagnosis are enough to justify a screening programme. If not, it will help us decide what research to invest in to make screening a reality and save many more men.
An accurate diagnosis of prostate cancer, that shows if it’s spread and how aggressive it is, is vital to help men more men survive. It enables men to choose the most appropriate treatments and getting that right gives them the best chance against prostate cancer.
At the moment, for certain types of early (localised) prostate cancer we really can’t be sure whether it needs treating. And current tests pick up too many of these cancers, causing men anxiety and sometimes harm from radical treatments they don’t need.
For men whose disease is caught early and is low risk, a more accurate diagnosis would mean they could safely avoid or delay treatment and its impact.
How we’ll do it
We’ve already had success funding the research and getting multiparametric MRI scans made available before biopsy to many more men across the UK.
We’ll keep driving this forward and pushing to get more men access to better scans for cancer that has spread outside the prostate.
We’ll increase our funding for diagnostic research, such as projects that use biomarkers in blood, urine or cancer samples to tell accurately whether or not a man has prostate cancer, and how aggressive it is.
But our most innovative project, in collaboration with other leading organisations, will use ‘big data’ approaches (including artificial intelligence and machine learning) to find answers in biological, genetic and clinical data on prostate cancer.
We have access to data from tens of thousands of men who have been diagnosed and treated for different types and stages of prostate cancer. Big data tools and methods now enable us to analyse this data to find patterns in when the cancers started, how they developed and how aggressive they were.
This can help doctors predict how particular prostate cancers are likely to develop and choose the most appropriate level of treatment. (The data may even contain clues that could lead to research into preventing prostate cancer.)
More effective treatments for prostate cancer could save men’s lives. Once prostate cancer has spread outside the prostate, there is no cure. Current treatments are not always effective enough or suitable and available for all men.
And too many treatments leave men dealing with harmful side-effects. For men whose prostate cancer hasn’t spread (localised), we need effective treatments that cure them before it spreads and prevent it coming back.
For men like Lloyd, whose cancer has spread (advanced), we need more treatments that stop the cancer growing so they can be around to see their children grow up.
And for all men, we need treatments that don’t sacrifice their wellbeing.
How we’ll do it
We will fund research into more effective treatments as well as research that makes treatment choices easier for men and ensures the choices they make lead to them being cured more often.
Our big data project comes in here again. By analysing large numbers of men, the type and stage of their prostate cancer and how effective their chosen treatment was, we’ll be able to guide men more accurately on what might happen as a result of their treatment choices. For example, helping them decide if they can safely choose active surveillance instead of surgery. Or for men with very aggressive cancers, which combination of treatments offers the best chance of a cure.
But we also need new knowledge. We will invest in research into the biology of prostate cancer to try and understand whether there are factors for individual men that might make surgery a better choice than radiotherapy (or vice versa).
We’ll fund innovative surgical and radiotherapy trials, and trials into new treatment approaches that are more certain to cure men and less likely to leave them with dealing with lasting side effects.
And we’ll continue our work influencing decision makers and the NHS to ensure that when new and better treatments come through, men can get appropriate access to them.
Thanks to our campaign to make the life-extending drug abiraterone more widely available, men like Kevin are getting extra months to make memories with their families. We want to do the same for drugs like olaparib and other new treatments.
Getting the right information at the right time saves lives. Our information helps men know their risk so they can take steps to get diagnosed early enough to be successfully treated. And it can empower men to choose and to demand the right treatments that will stop the cancer coming back further down the line.
We know prostate cancer can have a huge impact on the lives and well-being of men and those close to them. It can be an emotional rollercoaster dealing with a diagnosis, choosing treatments, managing side effects and, in some cases, trying to come to terms with the worst possible news.
People need support and information of the highest quality. And they need the NHS to be geared up to support them with time and resources such as treatments for erectile dysfunction and psychological support where needed.
How we’ll do it
We’re future-proofing our support and information services to ensure we can keep up with the demand of the increasing numbers of people who will need them. But we know this is not enough.
We hope answers from our ‘big data’ project could help doctors create highly personalised plans for support. And we’ve been working with Movember to improve support across the NHS, using tools that enable men to access their results and communicate with their clinical team from their own homes. We’ll continue to work with health boards across the UK so more men can benefit from this as well as help with exercise, diet and sexual wellbeing.
We know men with more advanced prostate cancer aren’t always supported as well as they could be. So we’ll be working to improve that. And we’ll continue to work alongside the NHS to get more Clinical Nurse Specialists in post and ensure best practice care is provided everywhere.
The next few years
The evidence is clear that what we do in the next few years will determine the outcome for generations to come.
But the evidence is also brutally honest – we simply can’t do what is needed on our own.
We need to grow our movement for men
We’re extremely proud to be united with so many dedicated and passionate people and organisations who contribute time, money and knowledge to help us raise awareness and fight prostate cancer. They take our breath away with their generosity and together we are a formidable movement for men.
But we need to massively increase the size and power of this movement in order to carry out our plan and address our priorities - to stop prostate cancer killing men and damaging bodies and lives.
We need to massively increase the size and power of this movement in order to carry out our plan.
Who can help us do this?
We need more transformative partnerships like those we have with the League Managers Association, The Professional Golfers Association, EDF and the TV channel Quest to bring in money for research and enable us to start more conversations about prostate cancer with men at matches, on the golf course, in their living rooms and on the high street.
We need to continue to build our profile in the media, keeping prostate cancer high on the agenda to influence top policy makers and attract the best researchers. And, most importantly, we need to raise millions more pounds to fund research.
The clock is ticking
We can do for men what the breast cancer movement has done for women. We can crack the big problems and transform the outlook for men like Bruce, Ally, Kevin and Lloyd, for those around them, and for those they will leave behind. But with only 10 years to go until prostate cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, time is running out.