Movember: a timely reminder of the importance of addressing unmet needs in prostate cancer through partnership and innovation
Every year, Movember plays a pivotal role in raising awareness and increasing conversations around men’s health worldwide. It’s a reminder of how our collective efforts can help drive innovation and improve health outcomes for men, especially in some of the most prevalent diseases such as prostate cancer – the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in almost all northern and western European countries.[i] It’s also an important reminder for men to prioritize their health, which may include having a conversation with their health professional or incorporating regular prostate screenings.
According to a recent study, if caught early enough, prostate cancer can be very treatable. In fact, prostate cancer treatments during stages 1 and 2 have a near 100% survival rate compared to around 50% at stage 4.[ii] This further reinforces the benefit of awareness campaigns like Movember, which break down barriers to drive early screening and diagnosis, so patients can receive timely treatment and, in turn, lives can be saved.
The treatment landscape for this disease has significantly evolved in recent years, fuelled by innovative scientific research which has contributed to improved patient outcomes. Advancements in biopsy techniques, targeted therapies and risk identification have proven to greatly reduce the severity of prostate cancer during different stages of the disease. Prostate Cancer is now no longer a death sentence; if treated early it is possible to be cured or managed as a chronic disease.[iii]
However, despite the many advancements made, with more than 450,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer in Europe each year, and more than 100,000 deaths annually, there is still more work to be done.1
Instrumental to reducing the impact of prostate cancer will be the role of research and innovation in advancing both testing and treatment options. This includes but is not limited to:
- Establishing more sensitive and specific tests for prostate cancer
- Improving the current standard-of-care for those living with advanced disease to maximise both physical and mental well-being
- Identifying optimal treatment sequencing for men with advanced disease, based on their specific tumour, to achieve successful treatment outcomes while preserving quality of life
However, advancements in treatment and testing do not alone guarantee improvements in patient outcomes. Timely and equal access to these advancements is required to ensure the value of innovation is felt.
Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan has set out strong ambitions for governments across Europe to ensure equal access to cancer care, support, diagnosis and treatment to improve patient outcomes in cancer. Alongside the important improvements in policy, the plan signals that we all have a role to play in preventing and treating cancer, including prostate cancer.
This Movember serves as a timely reminder of the importance of addressing unmet needs in prostate cancer through partnership and innovation. The research-based pharmaceutical industry is committed to continue delivering innovative solutions for those diagnosed with the disease. By coming together to co-create and collaborate with leaders across government and healthcare organisations, we have a chance to demonstrate the potential of our collective endeavour, and to improve outcomes for men living with prostate cancer across Europe and worldwide.
[iii] EFPIA, Prostate Cancer survival rate: https://www.efpia.eu/publications/cancer-comparator-report/survival/