10 years to tame prostate cancer
You can help stop prostate cancer being a killer.
If we don't act now
In 2016 one man an hour will die from prostate cancer in the UK. That’s 10,900 men this year.
Based on current trends, this number will rise to over 14,500 men a year by 2026.
44,000 men will be diagnosed over the next 12 months.
But research predicts a 30% increase in the annual number of men diagnosed over the next 10 years, rising to over 59,000 by 2026.
And the population of men living with and after a diagnosis of prostate cancer is set to nearly double by 2030, to 620,000.
Prostate cancer is currently the most common cancer in men, accounting for 25% of all cancer diagnoses.
By 2030, prostate cancer is set to become the most common cancer overall in the UK.
How can you stop prostate cancer being a killer?
In the last 20 years, we’ve invested over £37 million into ground breaking research. Bit by bit we’ve unearthed new discoveries. Inch by inch we’ve increased our knowledge, building on the advances of previous research, and laying foundations for future learning.
Through combining our knowledge of prostate cancer with that of our peers in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world, we’re getting to grips with how prostate cancer evolves, what it looks like at a molecular level, and how as a disease it can vary from one man to another.
A practical plan for progress
To tame prostate cancer we will focus our attention on four priority areas:
Consulting with researchers, health professionals and men affected by prostate cancer, our strategy – Ten years to tame prostate cancer – is based on what we know now, and what we can build on using this knowledge.
These are ambitious targets, and making inroads into these areas will be expensive, but with your help in supporting us fund this research, we will be able to stop prostate cancer being a killer.
To combat the early diagnosis lottery, we will work to create a tool to assess every man’s individual risk of prostate cancer.
Men affected by prostate cancer tell us one of the biggest problems we need to fix is diagnosis. Today, in 2016, we can’t tell at the point of diagnosis if any prostate cancer found needs urgent treatment or can be left alone. It’s a bit of a lottery for men at the moment, and we want to put the odds back in their favour.
We want to increase the proportion of men whose aggressive prostate cancer is detected before it spreads outside the prostate. We also aim to reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies, as well as over-diagnosis and over-treatment of harmless prostate cancers.
To do this we will commit £2 million to crack the problem of inaccurate diagnosis, which is blamed for many of the UK’s prostate cancer deaths. We'll work with top international researchers to develop a new risk screening tool. Combining known risk factors, this tool will establish a man's risk of getting aggressive prostate cancer, to help men and their doctors decide whether further investigation (and treatment) is required.
The risk screening tool will revolutionise diagnosis, and is expected to be in the hands of GPs in five years. You can help fund this groundbreaking tool.
But that's not all we're up to. With your support, we'll also fund research into new tests and drag them out of the lab and into hospitals and GP surgeries across the country.
Men need better treatment than a one-size-fits-all approach. We will create better, targeted treatment, without the life-changing side-effects.
With treatments available we couldn't even dream about 20 years ago and more in the pipeline, we are making massive progress. But there's still much to do.
Many of these new treatments offer improvements, but are still nowhere near what men should expect. Although they may save your life, many leave men with life-changing side-effects, including incontinence, erectile dysfunction, and affected mental well-being.
What we really want to see are better treatments with hugely reduced side-effects.
This includes optimising drug dosage and delivery, finding the most effective treatment combinations, and clarifying the benefits (or otherwise) of a fixed pathway of drug or treatment use. We’ll continue to fund high-quality early stage research focussed on discovery and development of new treatments.
We still don't know which treatments work best for each individual man. Your support will fund research to find the answers, so treatment is tailored for men according to what works best for them.
There’s increasing evidence that this personalised approach to medicine will come from using knowledge of variations within and between prostate tumours. Ensuring this evidence is translated from the lab and into practice as early as possible will be a priority.
There are also questions about whether some treatments could work even better if given earlier in the treatment pathway, such as those designed for treating advanced prostate cancer only. We need to find out whether giving these treatments to men with high risk disease that hasn't spread outside the prostate can help increase cure rates. You can help fund this research, and potentially save lives.
We also need to investigate new treatment pathways for prostate cancer, and to exploit ongoing work in other cancer types or disease areas that will help us introduce effective treatments more quickly and more cheaply than just developing new treatments completely from scratch.
Working out what makes prostate cancer tick is the first step on the path to prevention.
We need to better understand how prostate cancer starts, grows, and develops. Understanding what makes prostate cancer return, and how to stop this, is another priority area.
Can a man control his risk of prostate cancer through diet, exercise or drugs? What role does the environment play? As conclusive evidence emerges, we’ll work in partnership with other funders, governments and industry to help men adopt appropriate diet and lifestyle changes that could minimise their risk.
With your help, we will invest in research into the basic biology of prostate cancer, but only if it will significantly increase our understanding and, most importantly, inform future work in prevention.
Further research into prostate cancer prevention is a longer-term priority, and we will target men who are at highest risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
Our focus on the future does not mean we'll forget about men living with prostate cancer in the present.
With your support, we’ll continue to provide award-winning support to men with prostate cancer through our Specialist Nurses, peer support, and information provision.
We’ll also be working with health professionals at every level of care. We know that their relationships with men will be key to identifying what needs to change, and making it happen, and we’ll be with them every step of the way.
We'll highlight what needs to change, including some of the solutions we’ve already pioneered. And we want men to understand what the best care looks like for themselves and how to get it.
We'll work in partnership with health services across the UK, urging them to pick up the baton when innovative care that makes a difference is discovered and we'll make sure prostate cancer is right at the top of the priority list for decision-makers.
Hitting the ground running
Research is already underway into advanced prostate cancer
Thanks to your support, we're already funding a project in research centres in Belfast and Manchester that we hope will change how we think about prostate cancer.
At the moment, men with advanced prostate cancer follow a winding path of one treatment (to the point where it stops working) followed by another (until that too fails) then another, then another.
Our researchers in Belfast and Manchester are looking to answer a simple question – rather than giving men with advanced prostate cancer these treatments one at a time until they stop working, would they respond better if they received them all at the same time?
This small trial to test this hypothesis – and show that combining these treatments are safe – is just one example of the scope of our ambition, and the progress we are already making to stop prostate cancer being a killer.
Innovative and groundbreaking research like this never comes cheap. We will need the help of all our supporters to keep funding these projects over the next 10 years.
We've got the ambition.
We've got no time to lose.