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  1. ITV Report

Prostate cancer becomes third biggest cancer killer in UK

Lung cancer and bowel cancer remain the most common forms of the disease to die from in the UK. Credit: PA

A man dies from prostate cancer every 45 minutes in the UK, with the disease overtaking breast cancer to become the third biggest cancer killer in the UK, new research shows.

According to Prostate Cancer UK, the number of men dying from the disease has overtaken the number of women dying from breast cancer, with 11,819 men now killed by prostate cancer in the UK every year, compared with 11,442 women from breast cancer.

However, lung cancer and then bowel cancer are the two most common cancers to die from in Britain.

While the number of women dying from breast cancer has steadily been decreasing since 1999, the same is not true for prostate cancer.

Despite prostate cancer overtaking breast cancer to become the third biggest cancer killer, the shift does not represent a worsening situation for those with the disease.

Men diagnosed today are two-and-a-half times more likely to live for 10 years or more than if they were diagnosed in 1990.

  • Former Scottish rugby player John Rutherford, who was diagnosed with the disease but recovered, speaks about the benefits of early screening:

It is due to an increasing and ageing population that the number of men dying from the disease is rising.

Over the same period of time, breast cancer has benefited from a screening programme, along with significant investments in research, and there have been more than double the number of published breast cancer studies compared with those on prostate cancer.

Chief Executive of Prostate Cancer UK Angela Culhane praised as "incredibly encouraging... the tremendous progress that has been made in breast cancer over recent years", but added that "with half the investment and half the research it's not surprising that progress in prostate cancer is lagging behind.

"However, the good news is that many of these developments could be applied to prostate cancer and we're confident that with the right funding, we can dramatically reduce deaths within the next decade."

The charity estimates that it needs to fund around £120 million of research over the next eight years to reverse the trend and achieve its 10-year goal of halving the number of expected prostate cancer deaths by 2026.

In a bid to ramp up its fundraising, the charity has launched a series of March for Men walks around the UK to help raise funds.

What are the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer?

According to the NHS, problems associated with urination are the most common symptoms of prostate cancer.

They include:

  • Needing to urinate more frequently, often during the night
  • Needing to rush to the toilet
  • Difficulty in starting to urinate
  • Straining or taking a long time to urinate
  • A weak urine flow
  • Feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully

Other symptoms include a loss of appetite, pain in the testicles, back, hips or pelvis, blood in urine, and unexplained weight loss.