Do we talk enough about prostate cancer?
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of InQuire Media
Image courtesy of Huffington Post
Following the release of new statistics from the NHS it has been revealed that prostate cancer has overtaken breast cancer as the most common cancer in the U.K. This opens an interesting discourse as to the prevalence of the disease compared to its discussion within society.
For years breast cancer has been a more common cancer, leading to a huge push and campaign to destroy any stigma around the disease. Events such as Race for Life are held exclusively for women in order to rightfully celebrate the strength of those affected by cancer, but with a specificity toward breast cancer awareness. Doubtless to say, we have all at some point seen waves of women in hot pink for miles on end, all racing to raise awareness on breast cancer, either in person or over the countless coverage it’s received over the years.
This, however, raises the question as to whether enough is being done to match the newfound commonality of prostate cancer (a disease only found in men) with public awareness. Whilst Prostate Cancer U.K. runs several campaigns and events across the year (such as ‘March the Month’) general public awareness is still relatively average, with striking campaigns being something yet to be in the mainstream, with the exception, perhaps, of Movember.
There is some hope however, as I believe the reason for prostate cancer overtaking breast cancer is due less to an increase in cases but rather an increase in diagnosed cases. That is to say, as conversations on prostate cancer and the ways in which one can check for the disease become more prevalent and less taboo within masculinity, the more people will be diagnosed at an earlier point.
This earlier diagnosis is critical as the earlier doctors are able to find and isolate some form of tumour on the prostate, the earlier they are able to begin work treating the disease. Prostate cancer itself can actually be cured if found in the early stages; however, most men with early symptoms ignore them either due to a feeling of shame and embarrassment or to a lack of knowledge.
Despite these reasons though, men like Stephen Fry opening up about their experiences with the disease are crucial in further reducing a stigma and encouraging more men to feel comfortable talking to a GP about their bodies and their health. In fact, since Fry’s announcement GPs have stated that there has been an increase in early diagnosis cases.
For decades now the public have been aware of prostate cancer, yet a reluctance in men to seek help due to embarrassment and shame has led to countless unnecessary deaths. In 2020, it is pivotal that all is done to campaign with fervour and strength to raise awareness on prostate cancer in order to really cement public knowledge on the disease.