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Expert stresses importance of cancer testing
A medical negligence expert has praised 'Movember' campaigners for raising awareness of the dangers of prostate and testicular cancer – and stressed the importance of regular tests to avoid late or missed diagnoses.
“Prostate cancer is the most common male-specific cancer in the UK with one-in-nine men likely to develop the disease at some point in their lives,” said Jacqui Hayat, head of the London Medical Negligence department with Fentons Solicitors LLP. “There are currently over 250,000 men now living with the disease in the UK and each year another 37,000 men are diagnosed. In addition, more than 2000 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer in Britain each year, but following breakthroughs in detection and treatment, death rates have fallen by 80% in the last four decades to around 70 deaths a year.”
Jacqui said while the average age for men to be diagnosed with prostate cancer lies between 70 and 74, younger men can also be affected. “On the other hand, testicular cancer, which is rare before puberty, usually affects young or middle-aged men and is the most common cancer in males aged 15-44,” she said.
“We have a tremendous amount of experience dealing with clients who become ill after late or missed diagnoses,” said Jacqui, a partner with the firm. “It is crucial that awareness is raised as to the risks these cancers pose and the necessary precautionary measures men need to take in the way of regular testing and self-examination.
“Men often find it embarrassing addressing these kinds of issues,” added Jacqui, “but the worldwide ‘Movember’ campaign has helped to get the message out there that, in a similar vein to the way women are encouraged to check themselves for signs of breast cancer, men should be more aware of changes in their bodies.”
‘Movember;’ has become synonymous with raising prostate and testicular cancer awareness and reminding men of the importance of regular testing. Started in 2003, the moustache-growing campaign - which takes place every November in the UK and around the world - aims to prompt debate and raise vital funds and awareness about the often ignored issue of men’s health. It aims to educate men about the health risks they face regarding male-specific cancers, particularly in relation to early detection, diagnosis, and effective treatment.
“Most prostate cancers grow slowly at first and may never cause any problems or symptoms over the course of a man’s lifetime,” said Jacqui. “The risks of developing the disease however, increase with age and some men will develop a more aggressive form that grows extremely quickly and needs urgent treatment to help prevent or delay it spreading outside the prostate gland.
“The incidence of testicular cancer has doubled in Britain since the 1970s and figures continue to climb,” she said. “This dramatic increase has led to an intense search for its causes, but, as yet, no preventable risk factors have been found.
“It is vital that people recognise how important it is to raise awareness of these male-specific cancers,” added Jacqui. “It is paramount that work in areas such as research, awareness and education continues so that treatments can be tested and found, health policies can be informed and innovative so-called survivorship initiatives can go on providing men and their families affected by these cancers with the information and support that they need to help them improve their quality of life.”
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