A piece in today’s Times by Chris Smyth, Health Editor. Emphases ours:
Deaths from prostate cancer have overtaken those from breast cancer for the first time, with a man dying of the disease every 45 minutes.
An increasing number of men are dying of Britain’s most common male cancer, whereas fewer women are succumbing to its female equivalent, official figures show.
Men’s reluctance to talk about health and embarrassing symptoms means that there is twice as much research into breast cancer, which has benefited from decades of celebrity-led awareness campaigns, experts have said. [J4MB: Ridiculous victim blaming, and utterly oblivious of the empathy gender gap.]
Prostate cancer must be taken more seriously as it becomes the third most fatal form of the disease, campaigners have said. Only cancers of the lung and bowel kill more people.
Official figures for the UK show that 11,819 men died of prostate cancer in 2015, the most recent year for which full data is available, compared with 11,442 women succumbing to breast cancer. In 2000, 9,248 men died of prostate cancer and 12,762 women died of breast cancer.
NHS screening and precision drugs have helped to cut breast cancer deaths but prostate treatment is still limited.
Angela Culhane, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, said: “With half the investment and half the research it’s not surprising that progress in prostate cancer is lagging behind.”
The charity calculates that £227 million has been spent on British prostate cancer research in the past 15 years compared with £529 million on breast cancer. Globally, 72,513 scientific papers have been published on prostate cancer since 1999 and 146,063 on breast cancer.
“If you judge by how serious the disease is and the impact it has then you would expect them to be at similar levels,” Ms Culhane said. “It goes back to getting women behind the cause in the Seventies and Eighties.”
The average man who dies of prostate cancer is in his early eighties, compared with the early seventies for a breast cancer death. “There has been a belief that prostate cancer is an old man’s disease only, which allowed people to ignore it,” Ms Culhane said. [J4MB: They wouldn’t ignored it if it were old WOMEN dying from the disease.]
A man is more than twice as likely to live for ten years if prostate cancer is diagnosed today than a generation ago. However, this has not been enough to offset an ageing population, with almost twice as many men getting prostate cancer today as two decades ago.
Johann de Bono, of the Institute of Cancer Research, one of the world’s leading prostate cancer scientists, said that his field was “miles behind” breast cancer. “It’s been easier in that disease. The tumour is more easily visible, there’s been a lot more investment. There’s been stronger lobbying pressure from women,” he said. “I think men are much more reticent.” [J4MB: Victim blaming again, and no sense he understands the lobbying pressure came from feminists.]
He said the field had progressed a long way in the past two decades, but said that prostate research needed to catch up with efforts to target breast cancer treatment at different molecular make-ups of tumours.
Baroness Morgan of Drefelin, chief executive of the charity Breast Cancer Now, said that there was no room for complacency after a study in The Lancet this week showed that British cancer survival rates are still behind the best in the world.
If anyone doubts the power of fashion, look at breast cancer awareness. Death rates have fallen more than 40 per cent in the past 30 years, partly because of campaigns such as the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer initiative backed by Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss (Chris Smyth writes).
Prostate cancer had to make do with Bob Monkhouse — and he was dead by the time he appeared in a fundraising advert.
Women’s willingness to talk about their health has undoubtedly contributed to the success of research fundraising efforts, while men shy away from discussing problems such as incontinence and impotence. [J4MB: Again, victim blaming, and no grasp of the empathy gender gap.]
The importance of checking for breast lumps is widely understood, yet checking a prostate requires a very intimate encounter with a GP. [J4MB: It shouldn’t require that. Annual blood tests for PSA levels should be part of a national screening programme for men over 50.] As a result of the research gap, there is still no test reliable enough for prostate cancer screening, something introduced for breast cancer 30 years ago.
Yet there is reason to be optimistic. The success of the “Movember” movement in tackling men’s health issues suggests that a younger generation of men is willing to break taboos.
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