Prostate Cancer UK has analysed data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and is horrified by its findings. “The number of men dying from prostate cancer in the UK has exceeded 12,000 in one year for the first time ever,” the research charity reports. “This is unacceptable.”
There were 12,031 deaths from the disease in 2017 – the most recent figures available – up from 11,637 the year before and 11,307 in 2014.
The likelihood for this increase is most probably due to an ageing population, which means more men are being diagnosed with the disease.
One main barrier to curbing the number of deaths from prostate cancer is late diagnosis, according to Prostate Cancer UK.
It’s only when the cancer is growing at a greater speed, or is spreading, that symptoms typically occur.
When the cancer grows big enough, it can press on the urethra (the tube that urine passes through the body) and can create urinary problems.
These can be mild and happen over many years.
Although urinary troubles can be a warning sign of prostate cancer, it can also signify a very common non-cancerous problem called an enlarged prostate.
Regardless, it’s still a good idea to get any symptoms checked out by a doctor.
Signs that the cancer may have spread include bone and back pain, a loss of appetite, pain in the testicles and unexplained weight loss.
The sooner any type of cancer is diagnosed, the quicker treatment can begin and the chances of survival increases.
A man diagnosed this year has a much better chance of survival than a man diagnosed a decade ago.
But there is currently no national health screening for the deadly disease.