Record numbers of men are dying from prostate cancer
16 January 2020, 03:42 | Updated: 16 January 2020, 03:43
Record numbers of men in the UK are dying from prostate cancer according to new figures.
The number of annual deaths from the disease - the most common cancer in males - has risen above 12,000 for the first time.
Health chiefs say the rise is largely down to an ageing population, meaning more men are being diagnosed with the disease.
It is set to become the most commonly diagnosed form of any cancer by the end of the decade.
There were 12,031 deaths recorded in 2017 - the most recent figures available - which was an increase of almost 400 on the year before.
The rise is not said to be because the disease has become more deadly.
Similarly, the number of men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer has steadily risen. In 2017, there were 48,561 fresh diagnoses compared to 48,523 the year before and 47,864 in 2014.
However, the chances of survival have also improved over the past 10 years.
Prostate Cancer UK stated two key causes for the rise in the number of deaths - late diagnosis and cancer returning.
The charity analysed data by the Office for National Statistics and found that only 47 per cent of men are diagnosed at an early stage.
It also revealed that men whose illness is thought to be curable can regularly see it come back.
Angela Culhane, chief executive of the organisation, said: "By 2030, prostate cancer is set to be the most commonly diagnosed of all cancers in the UK.
"Before we reach this point, we absolutely must ensure that as many of these men as possible have their prostate cancer caught early and successfully treated, so their lives are not cut short by the disease.
"The fact that deaths from the disease are still reaching record highs serves as a stark reminder of the work yet to do."
Prostate Cancer UK suggested a national screening programme to help identify the disease in men sooner.
It is also working on improved treatments and increased understanding of prostate cancer.
Journalist and ambassador for the charity, Bill Turnbull, said: "As someone whose prostate cancer was diagnosed once it had spread, I'm all too aware of how important it is that we find ways to improve diagnosis and treatment so that in the future lives are not cut short by this disease.
"In the two years since I went public with my illness, I've had the opportunity to meet so many brilliant people who are doing their bit to fight prostate cancer.
"From researchers to health professionals, fundraisers and volunteers, it's been hugely inspiring.
"However, more still needs to be done. If everyone across the country does one thing to support Prostate Cancer UK this year, then we can make a huge impact.
"We must keep up the momentum until prostate cancer is no longer a danger to thousands of men every year."