We want all families to open up about the most common cancer in men this Father's Day weekend, after new stats reveal more men in the UK have – or have had – prostate cancer than ever before.
While many people worry about the symptoms of prostate cancer, very few know about their own family history of the disease – or that having a brother, father, uncle or grandfather affected by it significantly increases a man's risk.
That's why this Father's Day weekend, we want the nation to ask vital questions about their families' medical history and pledge their support for our life-saving research by signing up to a March for Men walk.
With genetics believed to account for around 50% of a man’s risk, prostate cancer is one of the most heritable cancers. While new figures released by us today also reveal the number of men living with or after the disease in the UK has now hit 400k. Yet a recent YouGov survey showed a third of people are still dangerously unaware of the disease's family link.
Far too many men remain in danger because they – and those around them – are unaware of the threat posed by a family history of the disease
One in eight men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime. Having a father or brother who has had the disease increases a man’s risk by two-and-a-half times compared to a man with no family history, while having a grandfather or uncle with it increases their risk by one-and-a-half times. Being over 50 or of black ethnicity are also risk factors.
"With the number of men living with and after prostate cancer at an all-time high, many of us will know of someone who has been affected by the disease," says our chief executive, Angela Culhane.
"However, despite it being the most common cancer in men, far too many remain in danger because they – and those around them – are unaware of the threat posed by a family history of the disease.
"With Father’s Day fast approaching, it’s time to ask your dad, your brother, your uncle, your friends about their risk of the disease. If prostate cancer is caught early it can often be successfully treated, which is why it’s so important for all men to understand their risk and speak to their doctor."
Through your generous support, we're currently funding research to identify the inherited genes that could increase a man’s risk of the disease so that these men can be monitored more closely and screened for the disease at an earlier age. It's for this kind of breakthrough science that the thousands signed up for our March for Men events are raising money.
One of our Specialist Nurses, Sophie Smith, will be taking part in the London March for Men on Father’s Day alongside her father, Richard Bennett (who features in the video with Sophie below), who was diagnosed with locally advanced prostate cancer four years ago.
"When my dad was diagnosed, it was without doubt one of the worst times of my life," says Sophie. "My dad is the lynchpin of our family – he’s our rock and seeing him so vulnerable was heart-breaking.
"Thankfully, dad’s cancer was picked up in time and – four years on – he’s doing well. I have a brother and three sons and so I’m acutely aware of the risk that they could now face as a result of having a father and grandfather with the disease.
"So we’re all going to be marching this Father's Day – not only for my wonderful dad, but for all the men out there who have been affected by prostate cancer. And we’ll be raising funds for better tests and new treatments to protect my boys and others like them who will face an increased risk in the future."