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Prostate awareness drive launched amid rise in cancer cases

Half of Scottish men do not know where the gland is, a charity's study found.

Checks: Men urged to improve awareness (file pic).
Checks: Men urged to improve awareness (file pic). Lynne Cameron / PA Archive/PA Images

Half of Scottish men do not know where their prostate is or what it does despite the growth in cancer cases, a survey has found.

Prostate Cancer UK warned that poor awareness of the gland may blind men to their risk of prostate cancer and prevent action to tackle the disease.

The prostate gland cannot be seen outside the body but sits underneath the bladder and is key to sex.

Charities want men to get it checked more regularly to reduce the number of prostate cancer cases. Improvements in treatment, prevention and support are also being targeted over the next decade.

In 2013, more than 47,000 new cases emerged in the UK, with almost a quarter resulting in death. Men over 50, those with a family history of prostate cancer and black men are most at risk, statistics show.

A survey of thousands of men - including more than 500 in Scotland - found only 8% know what the prostate does while only half know where it is in the body.

Angela Culhane, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, said: "Ignoring your prostate can be lethal. You can't see it, you can't feel it, and shockingly many men only realise they have a prostate when it starts to go wrong.

"If men really knew what the prostate can do to them, they wouldn't ignore it.

"Prostate cancer won't beat itself. It's a race against time but we believe it can be tamed within ten years, if action is taken now.

"Every man should wise up to prostate cancer so that it doesn't end up killing him. We're calling on everyone to join the fight to save our fathers, brothers, partners and sons."

Scotland rugby international Chris Cusiter has joined the campaign to raise awareness of the disease after losing his father to prostate cancer in 2010.

He said: "I didn't know too much about the prostate or prostate cancer until it touched my life. It seems that many men are the same - not even knowing that they have a prostate until it is too late.

"Us men have got to start wising up to our own bodies and stop ignoring the facts.

"Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and it's not going to go away unless we tackle it head-on.

"I've joined the fight to beat the disease and I urge all men across Scotland to do the same - together we can kick it in to touch."

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