Fewer men are dying of embarrassment as thousands more get themselves checked out for prostate cancer following a Mail campaign.
The number of men being treated for urological cancer has risen by more than a third in a just a year thanks to greater public awareness.
Meanwhile the number of visits to the NHS’s official advice page for prostate cancer also soared by 250 per cent to 70,000 in a month, following the extensive coverage.
The rise comes after the Mail renewed its campaign earlier this year for greater funding and for people to get themselves checked.
The number of visits to the NHS’s official advice page soared by 250 per cent to 70,000
Today, Simon Stevens, head of the NHS, pays tribute to the campaign to say it helped raise awareness along with the high-profile diagnoses of Bill Turnbull and Stephen Fry.
Speaking at an NHS Providers conference, the chief executive of NHS England will announce a £10million boost to help the NHS deal with the increased demand.
He will say: ‘A debt of gratitude is owed to Bill Turnbull and Stephen Fry for the work they have done to urge men to seek medical advice if they think something isn’t right. The Daily Mail campaign also plays a welcome role and – alongside the Turnbull and Fry effect – could help save lives.’
Studies have found embarrassment over symptoms –which include needing to urinate more often and weak flow – are a leading barrier to treatment.
Yet latest figures show the NHS treated 14,479 patients for urological cancers between April and July this year, up nearly 4,000 cases – or 36 per cent – on the same period last year. Many others will have been checked out by GPs and found not to need further treatment.
The surge in referrals followed media coverage about the number of people dying as a result of prostate cancer overtaking deaths from breast cancer in February. Figures revealed the illness had become a bigger killer than breast cancer for the first time, responsible for 11,800 deaths annually, compared to 11,400.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is presented with a pair of stained-glass pants, which Ms Sturgeon designed for the Prostate Cancer UK charity, on a General Election campaign 2017
The growing ageing population is the main driver behind the rise, with older men more likely to get the aggressive form of the disease. Men are also traditionally less likely to get checked than women, often being too ashamed to tell doctors about sexual problems, which can be an early sign of prostate cancer.
In February, Fry, 61, urged ‘men of a certain age’ to get themselves tested in a video revealing that he had been diagnosed with the disease. The TV presenter had his prostate removed early this year. Former BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull put his aches down to ‘old age’ before discovering incurable cancer had spread to his legs, hips, pelvis and ribs.
In April, the Prime Minister unveiled a five-year campaign to wage war on the disease, announcing £75million of spending to help spot it earlier. NHS England and NHS Improvement are now working with trusts to help them manage additional demand and the £10million will form part of the support package.