Written by

Jennifer Argent - Solicitor

Written by Litigation Executive, Jennifer Smith

Prostate cancer has overtaken breast cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer in England, with 12,039 males dying from prostate cancer between 2017 and 2019 . According to latest figures, around 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime.

However, Public Health England say this is because more men are going forward for an examination. More people than ever before are receiving urological checks and this includes looking for prostate cancer. There were over 40,000 more urological checks carried out between August 2021 and August 2022 compared to the year before.

Can celebrities increase cancer awareness?

Celebrities are playing their part, that is for sure.

Cancer Research’s latest figures included the diagnosis of celebrities, such as actor Stephen Fry and former BBC presenter Bill Turnbull.

Having dug into the numbers, there’s definitely room to discuss the value in sharing the experiences of high-profile celebrities.

Both Fry and Turnbull took center stage to discuss their respective experiences, and such bravery will only increase cancer awareness.

Furthermore, if other celebrities follow this lead, it might encourage men to take note of their symptoms and consider if this could be a sign of something more serious.

Other celebrity cancer cases helping to raise awareness include musicians Rod Stewart and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Both went the extra mile in publicising their experiences, whilst Jade Goody’s profile has communicated the importance of smear testing for women to detect cervical cancer.

This open approach is an effective way of spreading the word, particularly now we are in times of a heightened social media influence. Twitter and Instagram document the real survival experiences of celebrities, influencers and regular people alike; and these experiences are also reflected in powerful storylines on dramas and soaps.

Prostate cancer – what you need to know

  • Prostate cancer is now the most common cancer in men in the UK
  • Figures show an ageing population is a significant reason for the change
  • A prostate is a small gland in a man’s pelvis
  • This particular cancer is susceptible to developing slowly
  • Many men don’t carry symptoms, but symptoms include needing to urinate more often

Will symptom awareness increase the cancer survival rate?

Today’s celebrity influence may well make up for a downturn in medical resources and could even save lives in the long-term. Whilst the number of prostate cancer cases may be on the rise, there is hope in the number of survival rates.

A greater awareness of the symptoms of prostate cancer can help alleviate anxieties and increase the number of men receiving lifesaving treatment sooner. Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers and if it is caught early then it can be very treatable. There is research that suggests that treatment at stages one and two of prostate cancer has a near 100% survival rate compared to when it gets to stage four, there is a 50% survival rate. It is therefore important for men to get diagnosed more quickly which could be helped by awareness of symptoms. A clear issue for the NHS to address will be how to deal with increased referrals.

However, the earlier the diagnosis, the higher chance that various treatment options will be made available.  So, this might even benefit the NHS.

For example, patients can now benefit from surgery only – instead of surgery and chemotherapy, which will only increase costs and can also be more traumatic for the patient.

Ultimately, awareness is key, and celebrities have the platform and profile to reinforce this.

Jennifer Smith is a Litigation Executive at Patient Claim Line, specialists in medical negligence for over 30 years.


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