Thousands of men across North East and Yorkshire could be living with undiagnosed prostate cancer

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

There are fresh concerns that thousands of men across the Tyne Tees region could be living with undiagnosed prostate cancer.

New figures from Prostate Cancer UK show there were 8,000 fewer urgent referrals for the disease across the North East and Yorkshire last year.

Prostate Cancer UK says it is largely due to fewer consultations between men and their GPs.

This is part of a wider drop around 52,000 in urgent urological referrals across England, a plunge of 28%.

The leading men's health charity warns that this number is set to grow if the drop in referrals is not reversed. Many of these 'missing men' could have life-threatening cancer, and unless they are found quickly, they risk being diagnosed too late to be cured.

NHS England data released this week showed that although referral rates were improving across the country towards the end of 2020, they dropped by a further 270 (10%) in January, as the country dealt with a new wave of the pandemic.

Unlike other cancers, early prostate cancer often has no symptoms, so as the UK approaches 12 months since the first lockdown, the charity is asking the public to share its 30-second risk checker to help men understand their risk of the disease and help to find the 'missing men' who should have started treatment this last year.

Who is most at risk?

  • Men over 50

  • Black men over 45

  • Men with a family history of prostate cancer

Anyone experiencing symptoms, such as difficulty when urinating, should speak to a doctor to get checked, the charity says.

Angela Culhane, Chief Executive at Prostate Cancer UK said:  "Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK, but until these missing men are found and referrals begin to rise, many more men could be diagnosed when it is too late for them to be cured.

"You can find out more by taking our online risk checker, or speaking to your GP about your risk".