Nearly 25,000 men were checked for prostate cancer in March 2022, the highest number on record, following a campaign launched by the NHS and Prostate Cancer in February.
The six-week campaign urged men to use the charity’s online risk checker in a bid to encourage those who are at high risk to come forward for a check.
Since the symptoms of prostate cancer often do not show up during the early stages, it is important that men at increased risk are checked regularly.
Prostate cancer is very treatable if caught early
The campaign appears to have had a direct and immediate impact on urological cancer referrals, as referrals increased by more than a fifth (23%) in March compared to the previous month and by around a third (30%) compared to the same time last year.
Identifying cancer early has been a primary focus of the NHS over the last few months, as it is thought that thousands of patients with cancer have been ‘missed’ by the system as a result of the pandemic.
NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard has praised the campaign and said that the drive has already helped catch more cases of prostate cancer.
She said: “Lives are being saved thanks to a record-breaking number of men taking the vital decision to get an NHS cancer check.
“The NHS in England has seen all-time high levels of referrals for urological cancers but we know there is more to do to catch cancers earlier, which is why we’re investing billions to expand diagnostic and treatment capacity to treat more people sooner, as part of the most ambitious recovery plan in NHS history.”
The charity is urging men who have not yet done so to go online and use the prostate cancer risk checker
National Clinical Director for Cancer, Professor Peter Johnson, explains that prostate cancer is much more easily treatable in its early states, and urges men to talk to their GP if they starting needing to urinate more frequently, have a weak flow of urine, or there is blood.
However, most men with early prostate cancer won’t have any signs of symptoms, which is why it is so important that those at high risk come forward for a check.
With half a million people already using the Prostate Cancer UK risk checker, Chiara De Biase, Director of Support and Influencing at Prostate Cancer UK, is urging men who have not yet done so to act immediately.
“We’re delighted that record numbers of men have already spoken to their GP, because it’s so important that these men are found and referred.
“But we can’t stop here. We need to keep up the momentum, which is why we’re asking everyone to keep sharing our risk checker so even more men can find out about their risk and what to do about it,” she said.