Nearly half of men have no idea where their prostate is, and are unaware of the physical symptoms which could indicate an issue, according to research.
A study of 2,000 adults revealed that women – who do not have a prostate – are 27 percent more likely to know the signs to look out for in a man.
And a third (34 percent) of the men who have received a prostate cancer diagnosis admitted that it was their partner who raised the alarm.
Another 35 percent said their partner was the one who persuaded them to go and visit the doctor.
More than a third (39 percent) of men who have received a prostate cancer diagnosis said it took seeing someone they knew being diagnosed, to motivate them to see a doctor themselves.
The research, commissioned by cancer care provider GenesisCare and charity Prostate Cancer Research ahead of Men’s Health Awareness Month, also found 49 percent admit they tend to “bury their head in the sand” when it comes to health-related matters.
And although 86 percent are aware that an early cancer diagnosis can be lifesaving, 36 percent have delayed seeking health advice, which has contributed to health anxiety.
Dominic Littlewood, TV presenter and prostate cancer survivor, said: “Before I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I had very little knowledge about the prostate or the signs that may mean something is wrong.
“I now know just how important is to be informed, as if my doctor hadn’t happened to spot a high PSA level for me when checking for something else, my experience could have been very different.
“This research has shown us that men’s reluctance to see a doctor isn’t just a stereotype.
“I hope reading this will encourage men to take control of their health and if they have any concerns, see a GP.”
The study also found 81 percent of men have concerns about their health, with a cancer diagnosis coming out as the top worry (22 percent), and that of the prostate among one of the most feared types (10 percent).
Men lack confidence when it comes to seeing a doctor too, with 28 percent uncomfortable asking medical professionals questions or discussing symptoms.
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And 43 percent of those polled, via OnePoll, don’t like to ask questions about the treatment options available to them.
This is due to finding it intimidating (38 percent) and worrying they won’t be able to explain what they mean (27 percent).
But almost one in ten (seven percent) didn’t feel the need, as they think “all cases will be treated the same” – even though the appropriate treatment varies from patient to patient.
GenesisCare and Prostate Cancer Research are working together to empower men to spot potential signs, when to speak to medical professionals, and how to discuss and access the best treatments available for them.
Mr Philip Charlesworth, consultant urological surgeon at GenesisCare, said: “I’ve treated prostate cancer patients for a number of years, and over that time have seen a significant lack of understanding of the disease which can lead to a delay in getting help.
“Another thing that has been consistent is that partners or other members of a man’s support group have often been the voice in the ear that encourages them to take action and see a GP in the first place.
“An early diagnosis can lead to greater treatment options and improved outcomes.
“We hope that by increasing people’s understanding of the prostate, and when something may be wrong, we can motivate men to come forward if they have concerns or observe symptoms, and not wait to be encouraged by loved ones when things may have progressed further.
“Being informed, knowing what your PSA levels are and knowing what is normal for you is key to catching cancer early.”
Dr Naomi Elster, head of research and communications at Prostate Cancer Research, added: “This research highlights the importance of a man’s support network and asking questions to medical professionals, as those who asked questions were more than twice as likely to be more satisfied with their treatment.
“Cancers are not all treated the same and it’s important that your treatment is the best one for you.
“Now that we can see how much happier people are with their treatment if they’re comfortable asking questions, we really hope more do.
“While medical professionals are experts in their field, you are the expert when it comes to you, and open communication will help you to work together to find the best approach for you as an individual.”
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