40,000 Men A Year Get Prostate Cancer

The Huffington Post UK  |  By Posted: 04/05/2012 11:36 Updated: 04/05/2012 11:36

Prostate Cancer

According to the latest figures from Cancer Research UK, the number of men with prostate cancer in the UK has risen to 40,000, compared to just 14,000 two decades earlier in 1989.

Much of the increase has been linked to greater use of PSA (prostate specific antigen) testing, which measures a chemical produced by the prostate that may be raised when a man has the condition, say the organisation in a statement.

PSA testing first started in the UK in around 1989 and since then prostate cancer incidence rates have more than doubled, although the annual mortality rate of around 10,000 men has remained relatively constant in recent years.

However, according to Cancer Research UK, the test is not entirely reliable, as their research suggests two thirds of men with high PSA levels do not have prostate cancer.

Professor Malcolm Mason, Cancer Research UK’s prostate cancer expert, said, in a statement: “Accurately diagnosing and predicting the need for treatment of prostate cancer is fraught with difficulties and there is no escaping the fact that we need a better tool than PSA to help detect prostate cancers that actually need treating.

"Men need to be counselled about the upsides and downsides of having a PSA test and the uncertainties that it can raise."

During the past 10 years, UK death rates from prostate cancer have fallen by 11%. According to Cancer Research UK this is due to a range of factors, including improvements in available treatments and possibly men having the disease identified earlier.

Warning symptoms of prostate cancer include passing urine more often than usual, especially at night, or difficulty in passing urine. However, it is possible for prostate cancer to develop without producing any symptoms at all.

A Department of Health spokesman said in a statement: "All men over 50 are entitled to a free PSA test on the NHS provided they have made an informed choice in consultation with their GP."

A spokeswoman for The Prostate Cancer Charity added: "This increase in numbers highlights the scale of the disease and that we simply can't ignore it. Despite recent improvements, prostate cancer still lags behind other common cancers in terms of investment in research, services and access to effective treatments.”

Click here to find out how to fight cancer with Facebook

Loading Slideshow...
  • A coin featuring the Roman God Vulcan from the "Stronger" set of coins from The Royal Mint's London 2012 Gold Series commemorative coin range, which is a set of nine coins crafted in 22 carat gold and are inspired by the Olympic motto Faster, Higher, Stronger. The Stronger set is the third and last in the series to launch and features Roman Gods Mars - god of war, Vulcan - god of Fire and Minerva, goddess of war. They are the only UK coins from The Royal Mint's London 2012 Commemorative Coin range to feature the iconic Olympic rings. Photo credit should read: David Parry/PA Wire

  • Detail of designs for a test section of a pixellated portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, made out of cakes, at Konditor and Cook, in the City of London.The finished portrait made up of 3,120 cakes, one for each week of Queen Elizabeth II's reign, will be displayed in Battersea Park, London, on June 3, 2012, at the Diamond Jubilee festival. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

  • Tommy Lee Jones, a cast member in the upcoming film "Men in Black 3," points a prop gun at photographers before dropping it into a time capsule from the film, during a photo call in Beverly Hills, Calif.Cast members and the film's director Barry Sonnenfeld dropped props, costume pieces and memorabilia from the film franchise into the time capsule, which will travel across the country before being locked away in a NASA storage facility for 43 years. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

  • Tunnock the three week old Meerkat fits inside a tea cup after being weighed by keeper Anna Keen at Blair Drummond Safari Park using her favourite biscuit as balancing weights. Tunnock weighed the same weight as four Tunnock tea cakes(96g). He is one of four Meerkats born recently, with the other ones being triplets. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

  • Yves Rossy, known as the Jetman, jumps from a helicopter over Rio de Janiero, Brazil, The Swiss aviator dropped from the helicopter and deployed the Jet powered carbon-kevlar Jetwing, which he uses his body to steer, as he flew over the city before landing on Copacabana beach. (AP Photo/Joe Parker, Breitling)

  • Current Mayor of London Boris Johnson poses for photographs with his wife Marina Johnson after casting his vote in the election for the next Mayor of London on May 3, 2012 in London, England. Recent opinion polls place the incumbent Mayor of London Mr Johnson ahead of his nearest challenger, the former Mayor Ken Livingstone, in his bid to secure a second term in office. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • Joost Luiten of The Netherlands plays a shot during the first round of the Open de Espana at Real Club de Golf de Sevilla on May 3, 2012 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

  • A cockchafer or may bug is pictured on a blossom in Hanover, Germany, May bugs feed on leaves of various broad-leafed trees, particularly oaks. The bugs fly around between the end of April and the middle of June. Photo: HOLGER HOLLEMANN