Prostate cancer kills more than breast cancer

The number of men dying from prostate cancer has overtaken the number of women dying from breast cancer, new research has shown.

One man now dies from the disease every 45 minutes, Prostate Cancer UK said.

The total number dying every year is 11,819 – compared with 11,442 women who die from breast cancer.

Lung cancer and bowel cancer are still the two most common cancers to die from, with prostate cancer now in third place.

The number of fatalities has risen because the population is ageing.

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Image:Prostate Cancer UK says more research could help reduce the number of deaths. File pic

Since 1999, however, the number of deaths from breast cancer has steadily declined. There has been a screening programme and significant investments in research.

The number of published studies on breast cancer is more than double that on prostate cancer.

“With half the investment and half the research it’s not surprising that progress in prostate cancer is lagging behind,” said Prostate Cancer UK’s chief executive, Angela Culhane.

But “many of these developments could be applied to prostate cancer”, she added.

“We’re confident that with the right funding, we can dramatically reduce deaths within the next decade.”

A hospital corridor
Image:Lung cancer and bowel cancer remain the two most common cancers to die from. File pic

Gary Pettit, from Essex, told Sky News he was “absolutely symptom-free” when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 43.

After having a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test during a yearly work medical, he was sent for further tests which showed he had the disease.

Gary underwent surgery and now has his PSA monitored regularly. He is urging other men to seek medical advice.

“I was just lucky – right place, right time,” he said. “Other than that (check-up), probably I wouldn’t have gone, and I think that’s what a lot of men do. If there’s no symptoms, they don’t get checked out.”

If Prostate Cancer UK is to achieve its 10-year goal of halving the number of expected prostate cancer deaths by 2026, it estimates it needs to fund around £120m of research.