When we decide to fund a new piece of research, we always look to the future and think ‘How is this going to make a difference for men and stop prostate cancer being a killer?’
It is so important that we make sure to invest your donations wisely. We draw on the expertise of researchers from around the world and men with experience of prostate cancer to critique all of the research applications we receive.
Perhaps the best example of a good return on investment is our research into mpMRI - the advanced scan that can help to avoid unnecessary biopsies and to guide biopsies to avoid missing cancers. We first invested in mpMRI research in 2009, and through three grants totalling £136,000 they were able to gather the evidence needed to apply for a large-scale trial to definitively prove how effective the technique is.
The success of funding for mpMRI was a long way from the 1990s when the annual government spend on prostate cancer research reached as low as £47,000. Since then, we’ve laid the groundwork, getting prostate cancer research from a time when we knew almost nothing about the disease to today, where there are too many exciting, promising ideas for us to fund. One supporter who has seen this growth over the years is former England goalkeeper Ray Clemence.
Ray was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer 12 years ago and been through countless treatments to try and keep the cancer under control. Ray’s son Stephen followed his dad’s footsteps into the world of football but, with a family history of prostate cancer, the similarity might not end there. His son Stephen is at a higher risk of the disease as well, but Ray hopes that the research we invest in now will mean that the next generation of men, like Stephen, won’t have to face the same fate as him.
With the right investment they could really get on top of this.
Ray knows with the right investment we can really get on top of prostate cancer once and for all. By having a strong base in our understanding of prostate cancer, we are now in a much stronger position to identify new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent it.
Since 2002, the investment into prostate cancer research across the UK has tripled. That is a testament to how little we knew about prostate cancer back then and how much there is to test today. However, it still isn’t enough. We’ve made steady incremental progress, but with prostate cancer now being the third biggest cancer killer we need to make some big steps.
Our previous generation of supporters invested in prostate cancer research 25 years ago, without them we wouldn’t be where we are today – men are surviving prostate cancer longer than ever, receiving more accurate diagnosis and better treatments for advanced prostate cancer. That generation made the difference for men facing a diagnosis today, but we’re not done yet – we know that the biggest discoveries are still yet to be made and we’re banking on you to make sure that prostate cancer is something that the next generation no longer have to fear.