LIFESTYLE

Prostate Cancer Risk: Many Men 'Dying Through Ignorance', Charities Warn

24/01/2014 11:07 GMT | Updated 24/01/2014 11:59 GMT

Men should start talking to their doctors about prostate cancer after a survey found GPs often fail to initiate discussion about the disease, a charity has said.

The risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age, typically from a man's fifties onwards.

Yet the poll of 500 GPs across the UK showed that only one in 10 broached the issue of prostate health with men aged 50 and over who did not display symptoms.

senior man

"If the system were more geared to men, GPs would be alerting them to their risk, and explaining their options as a matter of course," Owen Sharp, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, which commissioned the survey, said.

"But it's not happening.

"Men are dying through ignorance and we have to change that, give them answers, and help them to engage in their own health."

The survey conducted by Kantar Health is part of the charity's Men United v Prostate Cancer campaign.

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Each year, around 41,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer and 11,000 die from the disease.

Because of their raised risk, men over the age of 50 are entitled to a free blood test that may indicate the presence of prostate cancer if they have discussed the pros and cons with a doctor or nurse professional.

"Prostate cancer is one of the UK's deadliest man killers," Mr Sharp said.

"However, in the absence of symptoms and screening, awareness of their risk and a chat with the GP is probably the best weapon men have against the disease.

"Yet we know that many men have no inkling of what their level of risk is, and very few have even heard of the test.

"Today's research shows that the system is not reaching out to men in the way that Men United will."

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