'Stephen Fry and Bill Turnbull effect' sparks big rise in prostate cancer diagnosis

Prostate cancer has become the most commonly diagnosed cancer in England, according to new data.

The disease has overtaken breast cancer for the first time - with 49,029 diagnoses of prostate cancer in 2018 alone.

That figure was nearly 8,000 more than 2017, and experts believe the surge in men being diagnosed was largely down to the so-called 'Fry and Turnbull effect'.

Both Norfolk actor Stephen Fry and former BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull, who lives in Suffolk, went public after they were diagnosed with the disease and that raising of awareness resulted in more men getting themselves checked.

Stephen Fry announced he had prostate cancer in February 2018. Credit: Stephen Fry

"As people live longer, we're likely to see prostate cancer diagnosed more often, and with well-known figures like Rod Stewart, Stephen Fry and Bill Turnbull all talking openly about their diagnosis, more people will be aware of the risk," The NHS's clinical director for cancer, Professor Peter Johnson, said.

Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, agreed that it was good news that more people were getting tested, but added that the NHS need more help to deal with the rise.

“While it’s good news that more people are seeing their doctor to check for cancer, these increasing numbers come at a time when our NHS and social care services are hanging by a thread," she said.

"The pressure is piling up on hardworking staff and long waiting times for cancer diagnosis and treatment are testament to the devastating impact this is having on patients."