Fathers and sons urged to talk in new prostate cancer campaign

New research reveals almost eight in 10 men have never spoken to their Dads about their prostate health

19th November 2018: This Men’s Health month, a new campaign from the Marie Keating Foundation is urging fathers and sons to take time together this November to discuss their health, specifically their prostate health.

New research released today shows that almost eight in 10 men admit they have never spoken to their Dad or a significant male relative about their prostate health.

3,474 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer annually, making it the most common cancer in men in Ireland. One in eight men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime, but that risk goes up by 2.5 times if a close male family relative has had it.

The study also revealed that two-thirds of men were unaware of this fact. Just 15% of those aged 35-44 were aware, making it all the more important that these conversations happen.

Director of Nursing Services, Helen Forristal, who has worked in the area of urology for over 20 years, says “men have got so much better at opening up and discussing their health generally, but what our research shows is that perhaps these conversations need to happen more within the family unit. The fact is that if a close male family relative has had prostate cancer, you are two and a half times more likely to get it than the average person. It is key that men are open and able to talk to their Dads, sons, uncles and grandfathers about their health and their prostate health in particular. Our initiative ‘Get Men Talking’ aims to encourage men to talk to their GP, family and friends about having the PSA blood test and what that might mean for them.”

A fun interactive online quiz is available on the Marie Keating Foundation website to give men more information on their risk of prostate cancer. It can be taken by visiting www.mariekeating.ie/quiz. The Foundation is also launching a new booklet ‘Prostate Cancer – from diagnosis to recovery’, kindly supported by Astellas, which aims to be an invaluable resource for anyone on a prostate cancer journey or recovering.

The research also showed that despite increases in early detection in prostate cancer leading to a 92% five-year survival rate, just 16% of people say they feel well informed about the early signs and symptoms of prostate cancer. There is also a distinct lack of awareness when it comes to the role of the prostate, with three-quarters of men incorrectly identifying what its function is.

Commenting on the research, retired Consultant Urologist and member of the Marie Keating Board, Ron Grainger says “symptom awareness is a key message of the Marie Keating Foundation. Thankfully huge strides have been made in the survival rates for prostate cancer, but these findings do raise concerns that perhaps this awareness is slipping. If you have any difficulty with passing urine or some of the following symptoms, please go and see your GP. It could be nothing but its always worth getting checked out.”

The symptoms of growths in the prostate are similar, whether they are non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). These symptoms include:

  • Having to rush to the toilet to pass urine
  • Passing urine more often than usual, especially at night
  • Difficulty passing urine, including straining to pass it or stopping and starting
  • A sense of not being able to completely empty the bladder

Very rarely you may get:

  • Pain when passing urine
  • Blood in the urine or semen

This campaign is proudly supported by Astellas.