COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Awareness initiative highlights increase in prostate cancer

New figures revealing that prostate cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed male cancer will be the central theme of this week's Prostate Cancer Awareness Week.

Almost 25,000 males were told they had prostate cancer in 2002, around 1,400 more than discovered they had lung cancer, the previous number one.

By highlighting the trend, the Prostate Cancer Charity hopes to remove some of the mystery surrounding the illness as well as bringing it to the attention of funders.

An ICM poll commissioned as part of this week's media activity reveals nearly 90 per cent of people do not know what the prostate gland does.

With more men heeding the anti-smoking message, incidents of lung cancer diagnosis are falling. As so little is known about prostate cancer, finding a preventative message is more difficult.

Dr Chris Hiley, head of policy and research at the charity, said the implications of prostate cancer's new status were significant in achieving media coverage.

"It's no longer just a prostate cancer story, it is a men's health issue," she said.

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