PROSTATE Cancer UK and NHS England are joining forces today to launch a national campaign to address the 17 per cent drop in prostate cancer referrals in the North East.

According to the latest statistics released by NHS England, urological cancer referrals in North East England have dropped by 3,000 since the start of the pandemic.

The campaign is also looking to find more than 14,000 men nationally who need treatment for prostate cancer but have not yet come forward.

Men are encouraged to use Prostate Cancer UK’s 30-second online risk checker to learn more about their level of risk and what action they  can take, including getting checked by their GP if they are higher risk.

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Prostate cancer is very treatable if caught early, so men are being urged to check their risk “without delay” so it can be found before the cancer spreads.

New figures show that prostate cancer accounts for a third of those not treated for cancer compared to before the pandemic.

The Northern Echo: Jeff Stelling finishing his march for men last yearJeff Stelling finishing his march for men last year

Previous NHS research found that half of people would delay coming forward to their GP during the height of the pandemic because they didn’t want to burden the health service.

Jeff Stelling, sports journalist and television presenter, said he has proudly supported the work of Prostate Cancer UK for “many years now.”

He said: “I’ve walked across the UK, met scientists, researchers, volunteers and so many inspiring people that have been touched by this devastating disease.

“I deal in statistics as part of my job; facts and figures can make you stop and think. So, seeing the news about the 14,000 men who haven’t started treatment during the Covid pandemic certainly stopped me in my tracks.

“That’s almost twice the capacity of my beloved Hartlepool United’s Victoria Park. Just think about that.

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“We’ve all been at the mercy of the pandemic for almost two years now, but sadly prostate cancer has not gone away in that time.

“That’s why it’s so important that men take notice of their health and understand the risks of the most common cancer in men.

“Prostate cancer is treatable, especially if it’s caught early. Taking Prostate Cancer UK’s simple online risk checker is one way of seizing the initiative. It will take around 30 seconds and could save your life.”

Nicola Tallett, acting chief executive at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, but the pandemic has meant thousands of men have not come forward for diagnosis and could be missing out on life-saving treatment.”

Ms Tallett added that many men had told Prostate Cancer UK that they didn’t want to “bother” their GP during the pandemic.

She added: “That’s why we’re working with NHS England to raise awareness and encourage men to take our risk checker to find out more about their risk and what they can do about it.”  

The Northern Echo: Jeff StellingJeff Stelling

Three North East men have urged men to get checked up after struggling, and continuing to struggle, with prostate cancer themselves.

Ken Bashford, from Middlesbrough, spoke of how he had his “world turned upside down” after diagnosis.

Nick Lambert, from Jesmond in Newcastle, spoke of how his diagnosis came as a “big shock” after getting checked.

Sir John Burn, a Professor of Clinical Genetics at Newcastle University, made his journey with prostate cancer public when his daughter, son-in-law and grandkids produced a version of swing classic Mack the Knife with adapted lyrics outlining facts about prostate cancer.

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They are now all backing Prostate Cancer UK’s calls to use the 30-second self checker online, which can be accessed here


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