Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Singing from the same hymn sheet

Last June we made a bid to become Royal Mail’s charity partner, and won. Royal Mail was an obvious choice for us – a national company that is part of everyone’s daily life and which employs a lot of men. You couldn’t design a better charity partner for Prostate Cancer UK if you tried.
The Royal Mail Group has already raised £800,000 to help us beat prostate cancer, which is a phenomenal amount of money. From growing Mos for Movember and crazy cycling challenges, to supporting our awareness campaign by obliterating walnuts, the Royal Mail has taken our cause to heart and jumped straight into the thick of raising money and awareness.
The latest in the series of first-class (sorry) fundraising initiatives by Royal Mail is this stirring rendition of the famous hymn ‘Abide with Me’. X-Factor winner Joe McElderry, and the Royal Mail Choir, have teamed up to record the single to raise funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer UK. I think you’ll agree it’s pretty special.

You can download this single now from Amazon and iTunes for 99p. For every download Royal Mail is donating an extra £1 to the charity, so I’d urge you to buy it.
Huge thanks must go to the men and women in the Royal Mail Choir who managed to fit in time around their normal jobs to practice and put this track together. Thanks also to Joe McElderry for taking time out from his busy schedule to record and promote Abide with Me to help men across the UK get a better deal.
Our partnership with Royal Mail is already having an impact in local communities. The money they have raised has funded the creation of four specialist prostate cancer nurse roles based around the UK. These nurses provide much needed local support to men affected by prostate cancer, and the money raised by Abide with Me will help us fund more nurses to reach more men in their own communities. So next time you open your door to your local postman or postwoman, give them a pat on the back and a thank you from all of us at Prostate Cancer UK.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

A step closer to the holy grail

You may well have already heard in the news today about the link between a faulty gene called BRCA2 and aggressive prostate cancer that has come from research carried out at The Institute of Cancer Research, London. Testing men to see if they have this BRCA2 gene could potentially be a way of identifying whether men are likely to develop the aggressive form of prostate cancer. Finding a way of identifying aggressive from non-aggressive disease is one of our three key research priorities, so this news is a great step forward.

Men faced with a diagnosis of prostate cancer are often put in a position of making decisions regarding their treatment without knowing whether their disease will lie dormant for years or spread like wildfire. With some diseases, this wouldn't be a problem, as the side-effects of treatment are less severe, and it would be an obvious choice to opt for the therapy that would rule out further problems and cure the cancer. Unfortunately when it comes to prostate cancer, the side-effects can be devastating for men, with impotence, incontinence and other physical and emotional symptoms a common problem.

If the prostate cancer is aggressive and potentially life-threatening, curative treatment - even with these common side-effects - is an obvious choice; better to live with these side-effects than the alternative. But some prostate cancers will not be aggressive and may cause very little problems. For these men, invasive treatment may be unnecessary.

I don't think it's overstating the issue to say that a test to tell aggressive from non-aggressive prostate cancer has been the holy grail for a number of years. This research is a step forward towards this goal, and we need to develop this work to enable medical professionals in the UK to tailor prostate cancer treatments more effectively.