Prostate cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK, data analysed by the charity Prostate Cancer UK has revealed.
There were 57,192 new cases of prostate cancer in 2018 – the most recent UK-wide data available from sources such as the Office of National Statistics – ahead of 57,153 breast cancer cases, 48,054 lung cancer cases and 42,879 bowel cancer cases.
Prostate Cancer UK said the news comes a decade earlier than previously predicted, likely because of an ageing population, as risk increases with age, and rising awareness that has led to more men getting diagnosed.
The charity’s chief executive Angela Culhane said the data reinforces the need for better treatments and tests, warning that Covid-19 has interrupted research.
She continued: ‘We need research now more than ever, which is why it really is devastating that so much of it has been brought to a standstill by the Covid-19 crisis.
‘We know that the Covid-19 pandemic will have knock-on effects on diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer for some time to come.’
Analysis of the figures show new cases of prostate cancer have more than doubled in the last 20 years and around 400,000 men in the UK are currently living with or have had the disease.
A higher percentage of prostate cancers are being caught at the locally advanced stage, or stage III, before the disease has spread and when it is far more treatable than advanced prostate cancer.
More men are also being diagnosed with low-risk localised prostate cancer, or stage I, which may never cause harm, so close monitoring of the disease is recommended rather than aggressive treatment.
BBC presenter Bill Turnbull and actor and comedian Stephen Fry have spoken out about their experiences with prostate cancer in recent years.
Last month, NHS England recommended the use of two hormone therapy drugs, enzalutamide and abiraterone, instead of chemotherapy to treat advanced prostate cancer during the Covid-19 crisis.
Earlier today, it emerged that cervical screening offers will start being sent out to women across England again from this month after the invitation system was paused due to the Covid-19 pandemic.