Originally published in February 2003 icon
If present trends continue, prostate cancer will soon overtake lung cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men - with 110,000 developing the condition in the next five years. The facts are that 1 in 13 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some time in their lives and in six out of 10 men the disease will already have spread beyond their prostate by the time of diagnosis.
Statistics can make gloomy reading, but any man who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer only has to contact The Prostate Cancer Charity, ask for information to be sent out or log onto the website to find practical help and plenty of light relief.
Humour and positive thinking can be great healers, and this charity is imaginative, cheeky and very effective in getting men interested in health. As so many men in the UK apparently don't know where their prostate is, the recently-redeveloped website features a 3D prostate finder. Just click on whichever part you're unsure of for a full explanation. The information pack, which is carefully tailored to the needs of each caller, is called a Tool Kit, with masses of useful information clearly laid out in the award-winning Prostate Gland Owner's Manual. Detailing what it is, what it does and fixing it when things go wrong, how could any self-respecting car lover or DIY enthusiast resist?
Humour and positive thinking can be great healers
There's even a game, played in pubs up and down the country. Have you heard of the Peeball "the game men have been bursting to play"? For only 1 (3Op of which goes directly to the charity), men can buy a Peeball (click here for link) and then see how quickly they can destroy it - yes, by aiming a stream of urine at it. Sounds childish? Well, urine flow is taken very seriously by this charity - especially when the Peeball is on target to bring in 1,000,000.
The charity is already making a difference and as chairman Professor Jonathan Waxman stresses, "When I set up The Prostate Cancer Charity six years ago I had a clear model in mind: the successful fight of women over the past 30 years to put breast cancer on the national agenda. Today, thanks in no small part to their efforts, there is widespread awareness of breast cancer... the time has come to do the same thing for prostate cancer."
Over the last three years, more than 2 million has been invested in vital medical research. Scientists at London's Imperial College School of Medicine are currently trying to discover how some tumours evade hormone-blocking drugs and begin to re-grow. Their findings will pave the way for new treatments for men who have been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.
The charity has also started funding specialist prostate cancer nurses. There are two at the moment, but that number will be increased to ten over the next three years in hospitals throughout the UK.
TV and radio celebrity Chris Tarrant
helping with fundraising
Celebrities including Kylie Minogue, whose father was diagnosed with the condition, and Chris Tarrant, have given their support to raise the charity's profile in recent years and watch out for the headline-making Prostate Cancer Awareness week starting on March 24th.
To find out more, get involved or make a donation call 020 8222 7622, or log onto the website on http://www.prostate-cancer.org.uk.
For confidential advice, call the Helpline - the UK's only dedicated prostate cancer phone line - on 0845 300 8383 Monday to Friday between lOam and 4pm.