One in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes – but more than one in ten would put off seeing a doctor for prostate-related issues, research has found.
The biggest concerns men have when it comes to seeking medical help include simply the fear of a prostate cancer diagnosis (40%) – as one in three (32%) believe every diagnosis is terminal.
And nearly two-thirds (62%) fear that the potential side effects from prostate cancer treatment could impact their quality of life, according to the poll of 1,200 men over the age of 45.
One in three men (32%) delay seeking medical help due to concerns around side effects from medication – including fatigue (32%), erectile dysfunction (27%), hair loss (24%), and a negative impact on their sex life (24%).
But of those who have received treatment, nearly half (48%) wish they had known more about how the treatment could have been personalised to them.
The research was commissioned by independent cancer care provider, GenesisCare, and was supported by charity Prostate Cancer UK, ahead of Men’s Health Awareness Month.
The two aim to raise awareness of the importance of early diagnosis and the latest advancements in prostate cancer treatment options, to help men make informed treatment decisions.
By providing more information on innovative treatments and techniques, the specialist cancer care company hope to support men in achieving the best possible outcome, and maintain a good quality of life for as long as possible.
A third (33%) of those polled, via the OnePoll study, believe treatment would permanently affect their health or way of life.
And only a quarter are aware that there are treatment options available that can minimise side effects.
Clinical Oncologist, Dr Carla Perna, from GenesisCare, said: “There are many treatment options available to men who find themselves diagnosed with this disease.
“However, our research shows that 58% of men we surveyed, who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, wish they had known more about how prostate cancer treatment can be personalised.
“It’s clear that there is still a lot of work to be done around ensuring men find a treatment path that is right for them.”
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Other reasons men delay seeking medical advice include one in three (32%) not believing their symptoms are serious or disruptive enough to warrant a visit to a doctor.
Of the men diagnosed with prostate cancer, more than half (58%) wish they’d known more about the treatment options available.
And more than a third (34%) believed if they had been better informed, they’d have chosen a different treatment pathway.
Dr Carla Perna added: “Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) using MR guided radiotherapy, delivered on the MRIdian MR Linac, is just one of the latest in treatment advances.
“This is a non-invasive option for men with low-to intermediate-risk localised prostate cancer, and some selected high-risk cases, which 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.”
Despite the prominence of prostate cancer, nearly a third (31%) of men aren’t sure what therapies are used – with 17% believing treatment for the illness is comprised of chemotherapy alone.
Laura Kerby, chief executive at Prostate Cancer UK, added: “The research highlights that side effects of prostate cancer treatment are a concern to men, and discovering new ways to reduce them is a priority for investment in research.
“Recent advances have improved the situation, as have the likely outcomes, so it's important that men understand their treatment options and feel empowered to make a decision that’s right for them.
“Prostate cancer mainly affects men over 50, but the risk is higher for black men over 45, and men with a family history.
“We urge men to know their risk of the disease and not wait for signs and symptoms. Anyone with concerns can speak to their doctor or contact our specialist nurses.”
Clive Reeves, 58, from Birmingham, said: “I was 58 years old when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer following a PSA blood test taken by my GP during a general check-up.
“I was surprised by my diagnosis, as I’d always viewed prostate cancer as an “old man’s disease”, and I hadn’t been experiencing any of the urinary symptoms you typically hear about.
“My consultant discussed the various options that were appropriate for my stage of disease, and I chose to have radiotherapy on the MRIdian at GenesisCare because it was non-invasive compared with surgery, was delivered over a two week period, and meant no hospital stays.
“It also had minimal side effects – just a little fatigue, which is already improving.”
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