Vienna – Although prostate cancer may exhibit no symptoms in its early stages, symptoms like severe or unexplained pain, difficulty walking or climbing stairs, difficulty sleeping or loss of bladder control may emerge when the disease advances as a signal to men to take action with their doctors. However, an international survey conducted by Harris Poll of over 1,200 people affected by the disease, either men living with advanced prostate cancer or caregivers, reveals nearly half of men (47 percent) sometimes ignore their symptoms. In addition, three in five men (59 percent) don’t always recognize the pain they experience could be related to their cancer.
The survey is the largest of its kind conducted to date in this setting. Commissioned by the International Prostate Cancer Coalition (IPCC) with the support of Bayer HealthCare, the global results from the 10-country International Prostate Cancer Symptoms Survey reaffirm findings from the U.S. arm released earlier this year. The results have shaped a global educational initiative from Bayer called Men Who Speak Up (www.MenWhoSpeakUp.com), which helps pinpoint the symptoms of advanced prostate cancer and empowers men and their loved ones to have important conversations at the right time and with the right people.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer for men worldwide and the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death in men.
“It is startling to see how many men living with advanced prostate cancer – who should be well aware of its symptoms – overlook the warning signs they are experiencing,” said Ken Mastris, President of IPCC-member organization Europa Uomo. “In the survey, 39 percent of men whose cancer has spread to their bones experienced some sort of pain for seven months or more before they were diagnosed. Opening the lines of communication for discussions about symptoms is not always easy, but it is critically important.”
Confusion surrounding the origin of symptoms isn’t the only barrier to men speaking up. Results from the International Prostate Cancer Symptoms Survey also found that more than half of men (57 percent) think their daily pain is just something they have to live with, and one in three (34 percent) report that talking about symptoms like pain makes them feel weak.
“The survey results have brought to life some of the critical issues facing men living with advanced disease and highlight the need to encourage more conversation,” said Maqbul Jamil, PhD, Global Strategic Marketing, Bayer HealthCare. “Bayer’s commitment to the cancer community transcends the development of new therapies, and through our partnership with the IPCC, this survey and Men Who Speak Up, we have an opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients by giving them the tools they need to better navigage important discussions about their symptoms with their loved ones and physicians.”
Difficulty discussing symptoms may be culturally-driven as well. More than one in three men (36 percent) in the EU and Asia-Pacific (APAC) regions say they are not very comfortable discussing how they are feeling physically with their doctor, compared to about only one in ten men (12 percent) in the U.S. Yet more of these men report having advanced stage cancer that has spread to their bones (EU 72 percent; APAC 53 percent) compared to their U.S. counterparts (53 percent).
“The stage of prostate cancer is one of the most important factors in determining treatment options and the outlook for recovery,” said Professor Joe O’Sullivan, M.D., Clinical Director of Oncology at Northern Ireland Cancer Centre and one of the leading medical experts who helped shape the survey. “Spotting symptoms early can not only slow disease progression, but can also potentially improve quality of life for men and have a positive impact on their loved ones as well.”
The loved ones of men living with advanced prostate cancer can be significantly impacted by the disease, but they can also play an important role in improving the prostate cancer journey. Half of men surveyed (50 percent) admit they rely on caregivers to ask the most important questions regarding their prostate cancer issues.
“While doctors are key to assessing how patients are feeling, the survey reveals that caregivers also play a key role in the management of the disease, especially when it comes to asking the tough questions,” Prof. O’Sullivan added.
It is important for those men with advancing prostate cancer who recognize pain or have stopped doing the things they used to do easily to feel empowered to take action and speak up about their symptoms. Men Who Speak Up provides useful resources including a symptoms tracker, a doctor discussion guide, informational fact sheets and helpful statistics from the prostate cancer community to facilitate those tough conversations. For more information, visit www.MenWhoSpeakUp.com.
About the International Prostate Cancer Symptoms Survey
Commissioned by the International Prostate Cancer Coalition (IPCC) with the support of Bayer HealthCare, the International Prostate Cancer Symptoms Survey was conducted by Harris Poll online and by telephone in 10 countries across the globe including France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, UK and the U.S. Questions ranged from understanding how long men have been living with the disease, to the symptoms of their prostate cancer, to the impact of prostate cancer on daily life. The survey collected data from 867 men with advanced prostate cancer and 360 adults who care for someone with prostate cancer between February 12 and August 3, 2015. A global post-weight was applied to ensure all countries received an equal weight in the global and regional data. Data were not weighted demographically and therefore were representative only of the individuals surveyed.
Patients who participated in the survey and caregiver respondents reported they or the loved one they care for have been living with prostate cancer for an average of 5 years. 536 of patients who participated in the survey (64 percent) reported they have prostate cancer that has spread to the bones.
About the International Prostate Cancer Coalition (IPCC)
Led by U.S. advocacy organization CancerCare, the IPCC is comprised of eight groups, including Europa Uomo, the Spanish Group of Cancer Patients (GEPAC), Patient Advocates for Advanced Cancer Treatments (PAACT), Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN), Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PCRI), UsTOO International and ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer. The group’s mission is to increase awareness of the symptoms of advancing prostate cancer and develop informational tools and resources for those who need them most.
About Men Who Speak Up
From the time they are young, men are guided to grit their teeth and power through any discomfort they experience. Yet for men with advancing prostate cancer, discomfort can be a sign that something needs to be done. Men Who Speak Up is a worldwide movement that brings the symptoms of advancing prostate cancer to life for the community, so that men know when to speak up and take action against their disease. The program raises the collective voices of prostate cancer – the doctors who treat it, the patients and caregivers who live it, and the advocacy groups who support them – and delivers informational tools and resources to those who need those most. For more information, visit www.MenWhoSpeakUp.com.
About Advanced Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer worldwide and the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death in men. More than 1.1 million men worldwide were diagnosed with the disease in 2012.The stage of prostate cancer is one of the most important factors in determining treatment options and the outlook for recovery. If prostate cancer spreads, or metastasizes, beyond the prostate gland, it often first grows into nearby tissues or lymph nodes before spreading to the bones. Approximately nine in 10 patients with advanced prostate cancer (90 percent) develop bone metastases, impacting survival and quality of life. Therefore, diagnosing and treating bone-related symptoms at the earliest onset is critical for patients.
About Bayer HealthCare
The Bayer Group is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care and agriculture. Bayer HealthCare, a subgroup of Bayer AG with annual sales of around EUR 20.0 billion (2014), is one of the world’s leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industry and is based in Leverkusen, Germany. The company combines the global activities of the Animal Health, Consumer Care, Medical Care and Pharmaceuticals divisions. Bayer HealthCare’s aim is to discover, develop, manufacture and market products that will improve human and animal health worldwide. Bayer HealthCare has a global workforce of 60,700 employees (Dec 31, 2014) and is represented in more than 100 countries. More information is available at www.healthcare.bayer.com.
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Anna Koch, Tel. +49 30 468-15942
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