Third of men are putting off life-saving prostate cancer checks

No one enjoys having cancer checks, but they’re vital to do.

New research shows a third of men are putting off doing prostate cancer checks, which have the potential to be life-saving.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK – one in eight are diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime. 

Early diagnosis is life-saving too, but more than six in 10 men over 45 years old believe undergoing treatment for prostate cancer can result in side effects which could impact their quality of life – this makes 15% delay seeing a doctor if they get symptoms.

Research by GenesisCare and Prostate Cancer UK reveals fears around treatment side effects is one of the most common reasons men put checks off.

Only one in four men is aware treatment options can minimise side effects. 

Prostate cancer treatment side affects fears

The greatest concerns are around experiencing: fatigue (32%), erectile dysfunction (27%), hair loss (24%) and a negative impact on sex (24%).

A third believe treatment would permanently affect their health or way of life.

Other reasons people delay getting help include believing symptoms aren’t severe enough to see a doctor and being scared of receiving a terminal diagnosis.

Clinical Oncologist at GenesisCare, Dr Carla Perna, said: ‘We’re keen to address the knowledge gaps around prostate cancer treatments in the UK, so that men diagnosed with the disease feel more informed and confident to seek out the most appropriate and effective treatment for them, especially considering the enormous advancements which have been made in the last few years.

‘Even if they’ve been treated before, there are now options for further treatment that ensure they achieve the best possible outcome and maintain a good quality of life for as long as possible.’

New treatments

Carla says there have been new advances in healthcare:

‘Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) using MR guided radiotherapy, delivered on the MRIdian MR Linac, is just one of the latest treatment advances.

‘This non-invasive option can be delivered in as little as five treatment sessions over the course of one week, instead of the conventional 20 or 39 sessions over many weeks.

‘The technology of the MRIdian enables us to treat the tumour with greater control and precision so there’s minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue, meaning fewer side effects.

‘It’s also a safe and effective treatment option for the 20% of men who unfortunately experience a recurrence of their prostate cancer following previous prostate radiotherapy.

‘Another effective technique used to reduce side effects of radiotherapy is prostate spacers, which help protect surrounding organs and tissue while the radiotherapy is being delivered. This can mean that patients experience fewer bowel, urinary and erectile side effects and therefore an improved quality of life.’

Over half of men over 45 diagnosed with prostate cancer wish they’d known more about the treatment options available and how side effects can be minimised.

To find out more about the innovations in prostate cancer care, visit here.

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