Number of men dying from prostate cancer hits all-time high

The number of men dying from prostate cancer in the UK has hit an all-time high, new figures show.

Statistics reveal 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 rise is not due to prostate cancer becoming more deadly, but is largely due to an ageing population, which means more men are being diagnosed with the disease.

In 2017, 48,561 men were newly diagnosed with prostate cancer, up from 48,523 the year before and 47,864 in 2014.

12,031

Deaths from prostate cancer in the UK in 2017

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK and is set to be the most commonly diagnosed form of the disease overall by the end of this decade.

A man diagnosed this year has a much better chance of survival than a man diagnosed a decade ago, but rising numbers with the disease means a corresponding increase in deaths.

Prostate Cancer UK ambassador Bill Turnbull Credit: PA

Journalist and Prostate Cancer UK ambassador Bill Turnbull was diagnosed with the disease in 2018.

"I'm all too aware of how important it is that we find ways to improve diagnosis and treatment so that future lives are not cut short by this disease," he said.

"In the two years since I went public with my illness, I've had the opportunity to meet so many brilliant people who are doing their bit to fight prostate cancer... we must keep up the momentum."

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK Credit: PA

Prostate Cancer UK, which analysed the Office for National Statistics data, said there are two main barriers to curbing the number of deaths – late diagnosis, and cancer coming back.

Only 47% of men are diagnosed at an early stage, while men whose cancer is thought to be curable can often see it return.

The organisation said its research plans are looking at improving diagnosis, including the possibility of introducing an NHS screening programme.