Prostate cancer has overtaken breast cancer to become the UK’s third biggest cancer killer, for the first time.
Every year, 11,819 men die from prostate cancer in the UK. This compares to 11,442 women dying from breast cancer.
The number of breast cancer cases has been steadily declining since 1999. But, the number of men dying from prostate cancer is yet to see a similar trend, said charity Prostate Cancer UK.
Lung and bowel cancers remained the top two cancer killers in the UK.
“It’s incredibly encouraging to see the tremendous progress that has been made in breast cancer over recent years,” said Prostate Cancer UK’s Chief Executive, Angela Culhane.
“The introduction of precision medicine, a screening programme and a weighty research boost has no doubt played an important role in reducing the number of women who die from the disease.
“With half the investment, and half the research, it’s not surprising that progress in prostate cancer is lagging behind.
“However, the good news is that many of these developments could be applied to prostate cancer and we’re confident that with the right funding, we can dramatically reduce deaths within the next decade.”
Reducing the number of prostate cancer deaths starts with recognising the symptoms.
Signs of the disease should never be ignored, according to the NHS.
Prostate cancer doesn’t usually cause major symptoms until the disease has grown large enough to put pressure on the urethra.
The earliest signs of the cancer include needing to rush to the toilet, difficulty starting to urinate, feeling like your bladder is never truly empty, and having to strain while urinating.
If the cancer has spread, it can cause bone and back pain, a loss of appetite, pain in the testicles, and unexplained weight loss.
Prostate cancer tends to develop very slowly, so you can live for decades without symptoms, or even needing treatment.
More than 40,000 new cases of the cancer are diagnosed every year.
Those most are risk of developing the disease are men over 49 years old, and men of African-Caribbean or African descent.