Can celebrity awareness help to diagnose cancer?
14th February, 2020
Expert Information

Written by Litigation Executive, Jennifer Smith

Prostate cancer has overtaken breast cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer in England, with 8,000 more men diagnosed in 2018 than in 2017. According to latest figures published by Cancer Research UK, 2018 saw as many as 50,000 registered Prostate cancer cases.

However, Public Health England say this is because more men are going forward for an examination.

Can celebrities increase cancer awareness?

Celebrities are playing their part, that is for sure.

Cancer Research’s latest figures included the diagnosis of celebrities, such as actor Stephen Fry and former BBC presenter Bill Turnbull.

Having dug into the numbers, there’s definitely room to discuss the value in sharing the experiences of high-profile celebrities.

Both Fry and Turnbull took center stage to discuss their respective experiences, and such bravery will only increase cancer awareness.

Furthermore, if other celebrities follow this lead, it might encourage men to take note of their symptoms and consider if this could be a sign of something more serious.

Other celebrity cancer cases helping to raise awareness include musicians Rod Stewart and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Both went the extra mile in publicising their experiences, whilst Jade Goody’s profile has communicated the importance of smear testing for women to detect cervical cancer.

This open approach is an effective way of spreading the word, particularly now we are in times of a heightened social media influence. Twitter and Instagram document the real survival experiences of celebrities, influencers and regular people alike; and these experiences are also reflected in powerful storylines on dramas and soaps.

Prostate cancer – what you need to know

  • Prostate cancer is now the most common cancer in men in the UK
  • Figures show an ageing population is a significant reason for the change
  • A prostate is a small gland in a man’s pelvis
  • This particular cancer is susceptible to developing slowly

Many men don’t carry symptoms, but symptoms include needing to urinate more often

Will symptom awareness increase the cancer survival rate?

Today’s celebrity influence may well make up for a downturn in medical resources and could even save lives in the long-term. Whilst the number of prostate cancer cases may be on the rise, there is hope in the number of survival rates.

A greater awareness of the symptoms of prostate cancer can help alleviate anxieties and increase the number of men receiving lifesaving treatment sooner. A clear issue for the NHS to address will be how to deal with increased referrals.

However, the earlier the diagnosis, the higher chance that various treatment options will be made available.  So, this might even benefit the NHS.

For example, patients can now benefit from surgery only – instead of surgery and chemotherapy, which will only increase costs and can also be more traumatic for the patient.

Ultimately, awareness is key, and celebrities have the platform and profile to reinforce this.

Jennifer Smith is a Litigation Executive at Patient Claim Line, specialists in medical negligence for over 30 years.