IVR Chairman's Charity 2018 supports Prostate Cancer UK

The Institute of Vehicle Recovery (IVR) confirmed at a meeting of the IVR Council in January the Chairman’s Charity 2018 would be Prostate Cancer UK and throughout the AGM weekend various fundraising activities will aim to raise funds for the charity. This was followed by the announcement in February from Prostate Cancer UK that the number of men dying from prostate cancer has overtaken female deaths from breast cancer for the first time in the UK. The charity said advances in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer are paying off, and increased funding could benefit prostate cancer.

Angela Culhane, chief executive of the charity Prostate Cancer UK, said the disease currently received half the funding and half the research that is devoted to breast cancer and an ageing population means more men are developing and dying from the disease. She said developing better diagnostic tests that could be used as part of a nationwide screening programme would be a priority. At present, there is no single, reliable test for prostate cancer - the PSA test, biopsies and physical examinations are all used.

What are the symptoms? There can be few symptoms of prostate cancer in the early stages, and because of its location most symptoms are linked to urination:

·         needing to urinate more often, especially at night

·         needing to run to the toilet

·         difficulty in starting to urinate

·         weak urine flow or taking a long time while urinating

·         feeling your bladder has not emptied fully

Men with male relatives who have had prostate cancer, black men and men over 50 are at higher risk of getting the disease.

Ms Culhane said: "It's incredibly encouraging to see the tremendous progress that has been made in breast cancer over recent years. 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. 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."

Michael Chapman, director of information and involvement at Cancer Research UK, said: ‘The number of men getting and dying from prostate cancer is increasing mostly because of population growth and because we are living longer. We're dedicated to improving diagnosis and treatments for all cancers which is why we're investing in research to help develop more treatments.’

What is the PSA test? The PSA is a blood test that measures the amount of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. PSA is a protein produced by normal cells in the prostate and also by prostate cancer cells. It’s normal to have a certain amount of PSA in your blood, and the amount rises as you get older and your prostate gets bigger. A raised PSA level may suggest you have a problem with your prostate, but not necessarily cancer. You can have a PSA test at your GP surgery, you will need to discuss it with your GP first. At some GP surgeries you can discuss the test with the practice nurse, and they can do a test if you decide you want one.

Who can have a PSA test?You can have a PSA test if you are over 50 and you’ve talked through the advantages and disadvantages with your GP or practice nurse. If you are over 45 and have a higher risk of prostate cancer, for example if you’re black or you have a family history of it, you might want to talk to your GP about having a PSA test.

The biggest cancer killers in the UK remain lung and bowel cancer, with prostate now in third place.

For more information and guidance go to www.prostatecanceruk.org