Ignorance at faultIgnorance of prostate cancer risks lives

20 March 2006

Widespread ignorance about prostate cancer is risking thousands of lives, a charity warns today.

A quarter of people aged over 55 didn't think that old age was a major risk factor for getting the disease, a survey by the Prostate Cancer Charity found.

Almost one in five failed to recognise that family history might be important and one in eight people thought diet wasn't a major factor. One in ten admitted they didn't know what any of the risk factors were for getting the cancer.

Prostate Cancer Charity warning

More than 30,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK each year and 10,000 die from it. A family history of the cancer, being over 50, eating a high fat diet, and being of African or African Caribbean origin are the major risk factors of the disease.

Prostate Cancer Charity chief executive John Neate said: 'One in 11 UK men is now at risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer yet our poll paints a picture of ongoing public confusion about prostate cancer and the risks associated with it.

'If men don't know their risks, they won't know it's important to keep an eye on their body and health, understand their family medical history and anticipate any changes as they age. The prostate gland is now the most likely part of the male body to become cancerous.'

Prostate cancer age factor

Of men diagnosed with the disease, about 9 per cent are aged in their 50s, 30 per cent in their 60s and 40 per cent are in their 70s.

The Prostate Cancer charity carried out the poll of 1,000 adults and released the results to coincide with the start of Prostate Cancer Awareness Week.

If men with prostate cancer want to improve their diet, the charity advises that they avoid fatty foods, eat less red and processed meat, increase their fish intake and enjoy a wide and plentiful range of fruit and vegetables every day.