What do Sir Michael Parkinson, Sir Ian McKellan, Sir Roger Moore, Robert DeNiro, Harry Belafonte and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani have in common?
They are all survivors of prostate cancer, a condition more than 1.11 million men were diagnised with worldwide in 2012.
In the UK, prostate cancer is the most common form of the disease in men, with about one in eight men likely to be diagnosed with it at some point in their lives.
Indeed, it is estimated that by 2030, prostate cancer could become the most common form of cancer among all men and women.
The good news is that over a quarter of a million men are living with prostate cancer and figures from Cancer Resarch UK shows that between 2005 and 2009, 81.4 per cent of adult prostate cancer patients in England survived for five years or more.
Research also shows that, alarmingly, two out of three men don’t know what the prostate gland does and the longer a man
waits to see his doctor about his symptoms, the lower his chances of long‐term survival.
The causes of prostate cancer aren’t yet fully understood, but they usually affect men over the age of 50.
Certain factors place some men at higher risk of developing the disease than others, including being overweight, having relatives (a father or brother) with a history of prostate cancer or being of Afro‐Caribbean or African‐American descent. There is also some suggestion that a fat‐rich diet consisting of foods such as salmon, pork, beef and even eggs may contribute to prostate cancer, although this hasn’t been proven as yet.
Prostate cancer often has no symptoms until the latter stages of the disease when patients need to use the toilet more frequently, often during the night, suffer difficulties in starting to urinate or feeling that the bladder hasn’t emptied fully.
To determine the type of prostate disorder, blood tests and an examination are done, hence the aim of initiatives like Movember to raise awareness and encourage men to visit their GPs as early as possible.
With diagnosi and survial rates so high, the peace of mind and financial security that critical illness insurance polices can provide is invaluble and will help pay the bils during recovery.