A GP is warning men not to ignore symptoms of prostate cancer following a report which revealed deaths from the disease have now overtaken breast cancer for the first time.
Figures released by Prostate Cancer UK show that in 2015 there were 11,819 deaths from the condition, compared with 11,442 deaths from breast cancer.
Prostate cancer mostly affects men aged 50 and over and symptoms include having trouble urinating, a decreased flow and getting up regularly in the night to go to the toilet.
Unlike breast cancer, there is no universal screening method available and prostate cancer only currently receives around 50 per cent of the research budget that breast cancer gets.
Dr Jeff Foster, of Leamington-based TFJ Private GP Services, said the lack of a simple test for prostate cancer meant men should never ignore their symptoms, no matter how trivial they appear.
“One of the biggest problems men face is you can’t screen for prostate cancer in the same way you can for breast cancer.
“The common PSA blood test is not an effective way of screening for the disease as it is often inaccurate.
“The main message I would give is not to ignore symptoms. If you catch prostate cancer as early as you can, it is very treatable.
“Women have been educated for years to check their breasts but you can’t check easily for prostate cancer. Plus, men are much more likely to bury a problem and not go to a doctor.
“So, don’t sit on it, say something early on. No matter how trivial the problem seems, it shouldn’t be ignored.”
Risk factors for prostate cancer include being tall, living a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, smoking and having a high calcium intake.
Having a family member who has had the disease doubles the risk of contracting it.
Visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/prostate-cancer/symptoms for more information on prostate cancer and its symptoms.
* The Warwick-based Graham Fulford Charitable Trust holds regular free screening sessions.
The charity was set up by businessman Graham Fulford to promote awareness of prostate cancer following the deaths of a close friend and a family member.
Visit psatests.org.uk for further details.