Men need to talk about the dangers of prostate cancer to make informed decisions when it comes to the disease, says Health Secretary Steve Barclay.
- Steve Barclay has asked Mail readers to come forward to share their stories.
The Secretary of Health yesterday endorsed a mail-in campaign to reduce deaths from prostate cancer.
Steve Barclay wants men to “make informed decisions when it comes to prostate screening” because early detection and prompt treatment save lives.
He added: “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, so I welcome the Mail’s campaign to raise awareness and get men talking about it.” I want men to be able to make informed decisions when it comes to prostate checkups.
“Men aged 50 and over can decide if they would like to apply for a free PSA blood test on the NHS. A PSA blood test can help diagnose prostate problems, including cancer, but it’s not a perfect test, so it’s important that men have all the information and can choose what’s best for them.’
Mr Barclay asked Mail readers to come forward to share their stories to help shape government policy to tackle major diseases.
Steve Barclay wants men to “make informed decisions when it comes to prostate checkups”
He added: ‘If you’ve been affected by cancer, we need to hear from you.’
About 1,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer a week, making it the most common cancer among men and second only to breast cancer overall.
For just under a fifth of annual diagnoses, the cancer is at stage 4, meaning it has already spread throughout the body, often rendering it incurable. Around 12,000 patients, one every 45 minutes, die from the disease each year.
Experts agree that early detection is key to increasing survival rates. However, without a national screening program, progress has been slow in bringing the numbers down.
The Mail’s End The Needs Prostate Deaths campaign has received cross-party support with Labor and the Liberal Democrats adding their endorsement. Wes Streeting, Labor’s health spokesman, said it was inexcusable that men had different chances of survival depending on where they lived.
The Mail has reported that men in parts of the North East are up to six times more likely to be diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer than their counterparts in most areas of London.
Mr Streeting, himself a cancer survivor, said: ‘Patients in all parts of the country should be able to get tested, diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. It is unfair and inexcusable that some men have a worse chance when it comes to prostate cancer simply because of where they live.
‘We must end unnecessary deaths from prostate cancer.
“It will require a fundamental reform of the NHS, so that it diagnoses diseases and treats them much sooner.”
He added: “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, so I welcome the Mail’s campaign to raise awareness and get men talking about it.”
Streeting was admitted to hospital in March 2021 with pain from a kidney stone before a scan revealed a malignancy. He underwent surgery and was declared cancer-free in 2021, a result he attributes to his lucky early diagnosis and prompt treatment.
Since men are half as likely to seek medical help as women, she said embarrassment or stoicism shouldn’t get in the way of life-saving checks.
Mr Streeting added: “As someone who owes his life to the NHS to catch my cancer early, I encourage all men to get checked if they notice symptoms.”
The Mail has been campaigning for improved prostate cancer treatment and diagnosis for over 25 years. Because prostate tests are not good enough to allow for routine testing in the same way as for breast cancer, men should see their family doctor if they have symptoms.
Lib Dem health spokeswoman Daisy Cooper said we should all “play our part to break the stigma around prostate cancer” with too many families “losing the men they love too soon”.
He added: “I wholeheartedly endorse this campaign by the Mail and Prostate Cancer Research leading the charge.”