The number of men in the North East being diagnosed with prostate cancer has increased by 56% over the last decade, said Prostate Cancer UK.

This regional figure follows the news that prostate cancer is now the most common cancer in the UK. The charity has put the rise down to increased awareness of the disease.

Awareness was heightened by high-profile individuals such as Stephen Fry  sharing their experience of the disease. This led to a huge surge in referrals for suspected prostate cancer that year, particularly in England.

400,000

in the UK are living with or have had the disease

Scientific research into new tests and treatments has meant that a man diagnosed in 2020 will have a much-improved chance of survival compared to 20 years ago, says the cancer charity. Despite this, they say, there is still no screening programme for prostate cancer, as current tests such as the PSA blood test are not reliable enough at accurately spotting the disease. They want to see better tests and scans.

The coronavirus outbreak has affected research into the disease. The charity is calling for support to raise the millions of pounds the charity says is needed to get prostate cancer research "back on track".

The number of men with prostate cancer keeps rising and now for the first time ever,  it has become the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK.  We’ve reached this point much earlier than previously predicted, which is in part due to a big increase in awareness of the disease in recent years. 

Angela Culhane, Chief Executive at Prostate Cancer UK

Prostate Cancer UK also warns that although diagnoses have been rising for many years, the COVID-19 crisis could cause many cancers to be missed, as the pandemic continues to reduce the number of referrals for suspected prostate cancer.

Lauren Clark lost her husband, the England cricketing legend Bob Willis, to prostate cancer in December 2019.

Former England cricketer Bob Willis Credit: PA

I know only too well the impact prostate cancer has, not just on the men who get it, but their wives, partners and families. This news just goes to show that there is so much that needs to be done, and no time to waste.

Lauren Clark

A spokesperson for Prostate Cancer UK said that as services begin to return to normal, "it’s important that anyone with concerns about their prostate cancer risk speaks to their GP or contact our Specialist Nurses – particularly if they have any symptoms. Men who are most at risk are those aged 50 and over, black men and men with a family history of the disease.”