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More than 30,000 men are living with advanced, incurable prostate cancer in the UK

Macmillan Cancer Support

3 min read Partner content

This Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Macmillan Cancer Support calls for political parties to prioritise cancer care.

There are more than 30,000 men currently living with advanced, incurable prostate cancer in the UK, according to new research led by Macmillan Cancer Support, published today in the British Journal of Cancer[1].

This is more than for any of the other top four cancers and more than a third greater than estimates for breast and colorectal cancer[2]. Macmillan has released the figures this Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and the charity says they highlight the demand for improved cancer services to manage the rising number of people who are surviving cancer in the UK.

The analysis works on the basis that a man with advanced prostate cancer could survive for four years after diagnosis[3], on average. Previous Macmillan research found that the majority (84%) of men with advanced prostate cancer will also be living with at least one other serious health condition which may further affect the quality of their final years of life. Four in nine (45%) have a genitourinary condition such as incontinence and one in five (19%) have a digestive condition such as a painful anal fistula[4].

With a growing cancer population and recent advances in treatment for progressive cancer, the number of men living with advanced, incurable prostate cancer in the UK will continue to increase further.

Bill Dodwell, 61, was diagnosed with advanced, incurable prostate cancer in 2012.

“When I was diagnosed the oncologist told me that I had around five years to live, which I find very hard to come to terms with. I intend to prove him wrong and make the most of the time I have.

“One of the most difficult things to live with are the side effects from the hormone therapy, which I am given to stop the cancer spreading any further in the body. I get hot flushes, suffer from fatigue, aching bones and am now impotent without any sex drive. It’s hard to deal with all this on a daily basis without it really affecting your morale.”

Jane Maher, Joint Chief Medical Officer at Macmillan Cancer Support, says:

“It is welcome news that survival rates are improving, but as people with advanced prostate cancer are living longer with their illness, their needs now resemble those of people with other long-term conditions. The majority of their treatment might be over, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need the support of the healthcare system.

“With the ongoing development of a cancer strategy for England and the imminent General Election, this is the time for key decision makers to commit to prioritising cancer care and supporting people living with the disease to lead healthy and fulfilling lives after treatment.”

Macmillan Cancer Support is calling for the main political parties to commit to improving cancer outcomes, particularly by ensuring people are diagnosed with cancer early, that they can access the right treatment for them, irrespective of age or location and that they are supported to live well beyond treatment.

For information on prostate cancer visit here