Prostate Cancer Awareness Month 2009

Posted on: 11 March 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month aims to increase awareness, not only of prostate cancer, but of some of the inequities surrounding the disease, under the banner, 'it matters'.


The Prostate Cancer Charity is staging its first ever Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, in March 2009.

Extending the well-established Awareness Week to a month is an exciting development for The Prostate Cancer Charity, and reflects significant growth within the charity and the event, which has grown year on year.

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month will aim to increase awareness, not only of prostate cancer, but of some of the inequities surrounding the disease, under the banner, 'it matters'. 35,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the UK and one man dies every hour of the disease.

Despite the scale of prostate cancer, the charity believes there is still a long way to go to improve men's experience of the disease.

The broadcasting dynasty, 'The Snows', has come together in support of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. They will front a high-profile, in-store campaign in M&S stores across the UK as part of the retailer's partnership with The Prostate Cancer Charity, which is now in its third year.

This year, M&S will donate 10% from the sale of the Autograph range of men's underwear for the first two weeks of March to the Charity. Trolley tokens and pin badges, for suggested donations of £2 and £1 respectively and each bearing the charity's blue man emblem, will also be on sale.

Thousands of individuals and groups across the UK will join forces to show that raising awareness of prostate cancer matters to them. Aside from visiting an M&S store, there are numerous ways to get involved, from staging an information day to signing up to the Real Man Cup, a five-a-side football tournament, to raising funds.

About The DIsease

Cases are rare in men aged under 50, but it becomes more common as they grow older.

Having a father or brother with prostate cancer increases the risk of a man developing the condition.

The illness is more common in men of African-Caribbean or African-American descent and in western countries.

What are the symptoms?

Often prostate cancer doesn't have any symptoms, but when they do occur they may include:

  • The need to urinate more frequently
  • Disturbed sleep because of the need to urinate
  • Difficulty or pain when passing water
  • Delay or hesitancy before urinating
  • A feeling that the bladder has not completely emptied
  • Pain or stiffness in the lower back, pelvis and hips

It's important to be aware that there are a number of other, non-cancerous medical conditions that may also cause these symptoms.

In advanced prostate cancer, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Weight loss
  • Bone pain
  • Pain in the loins, pelvis or lower back
  • Blood in the urine or semen

Can it be prevented?

A healthy, low-fat diet may help to prevent prostate cancer, and vitamin E, selenium and lycopene (found in tomatoes) may offer protection.

How is it diagnosed?

If diagnosed early, treatment can be quite successful. Therefore, it's important to be aware of the symptoms and to see a GP as early as possible. Currently in the UK there are no routine screening programmes for prostate cancer.

A GP will perform a digital rectal examination (DRE) and arrange for any blood tests (for example, a prostate specific antigen or PSA test), or other tests, such as x-rays or scans, that may be necessary.

A specialist may then arrange a biopsy of the prostate. This should indicate whether or not prostate cancer is present and, if so, whether or not it's aggressive. These results will influence the types of treatment available.

What's the treatment?

Treatment depends on a number of factors, primarily whether the cancer is contained within the prostate (localised) or has spread around the body (advanced).

Localised disease, where the cancer is small and contained, is generally managed by observation ('watchful waiting'), surgery to remove the prostate (radical prostatectomy), brachytherapy (radioactive seeds implanted in the prostate) or IMRT (highly focused radiotherapy).

Other new treatments include high-frequency ultrasound (HIFU) and cryotherapy.

Advanced disease is often treated using hormone therapy, reducing the amount of testosterone in the body to slow down or stop the growth of the cancer cells.

Advice & Support

Anyone wanting to participate in Prostate Cancer Awareness Month can request an information pack from or by calling 0208 222 7141.

For more information about Prostate Cancer call the Prostate Cancer Charity on 0800 074 8383 or visit the website at

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