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Living and Loving with Prostate Cancer: Men Deserve Better
Date:4/28/2009

Treat the disease and the man, urge advocacy groups worldwide

CHICAGO, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Vast improvements in prostate cancer recognition, management and treatment are needed, according to influential prostate cancer groups, speaking today on the occasion of the American Urological Association annual meeting. In particular, a Charter for Change called Learning, Living and Loving draws attention to the impact of prostate cancer on a man's love life which can be affected due to changes in his sexual function, and changes in the way he perceives his own masculinity.

The charter from 13 major prostate cancer groups in the US and Europe calls on policy makers, patient groups, healthcare professionals, pharmaceutical companies, the media and the general public to advance the early detection, diagnosis, treatment and management of prostate cancer, and take effective steps to improve the handling of the 'whole man' - mind, body and spirit.

"Prostate cancer is reaching epidemic status. It is possibly one of the biggest challenges to men's health in the world today but through the charter, we're urging men to take control of their own healthcare." comments Thomas Kirk, President and CEO of Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network. "Men should put their best healthcare team on the field. That's to say they should assemble the best team of doctors and researchers around them for advice on treatment options, and draw strength from the loving support of their family, to help them manage the impact the disease can have on how they feel emotionally, on their love life and on their feelings of intimacy with their partner."

The group's overarching concern is a lack of clear and consistent information, particularly in areas that affect a man's quality of life and that of his family. Prostate cancer and its treatments impact on all elements of a man's life. Many men experience urinary incontinence and impotence, and a loss of sexual desire which can severely compromise their sense of masculinity and affect their work, social activity and love life. The charter asks for practices to be put into place to better inform and educate men, their families and all those involved in prostate cancer care of the far reaching effects of the disease and to encourage a more open, communicative and holistic approach to its treatment and management.

Skip Lockwood, Executive Vice President and CEO of ZERO - The Project to End Prostate Cancer explains, "There is still much to be done to improve the management of prostate cancer and the fight against the disease is far from over. Prostate cancer does not receive anywhere near the level of interest and funding it warrants and this must be addressed. Our charter highlights the shortcomings in the current management of men with this disease but from a very practical viewpoint. For example, maintaining key relationships, love life and intimacy throughout prostate cancer is incredibly important but can often be overlooked. Many men feel uncomfortable discussing these issues and avoid them altogether. It is an area which is absolutely key to men's quality of life and there needs to be a cultural shift in the way it is approached and managed."

Living and Loving With Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in developed nations and the third most prevalent cancer in the world. Each year, 679,000 men are diagnosed with the disease worldwide, and it kills 221,000 men globally annually.

The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system, and the growth and function of the prostate depends on the male sex hormone testosterone. In men, testosterone helps maintain sex drive and sexual function, muscle mass and strength, mood and energy levels as well as bone strength. Prostate cancer and some treatments can affect a man's natural hormone production. The disease and the treatment can often trigger a number of side effects that impact the man's sex life, and consequently, that of his partner.

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity - World Health Organization

    Notes to editors:

    Participating Prostate Cancer Groups
    USA            Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support
                   Network
    USA            ZERO
    Austria        Selbsthilfe Prostatakrebs
    Belgium        Wij Ook Belgie - US Too Belgium
    Denmark        PROPA Prostate Cancer Patient Society
    France         Association National des Malades du cancer de la prostate
                   (l'ANAMACaP)
    Germany        Bundesverband ProstataKrebs Selbsthilfe BPS
    Ireland        Men Against Cancer (MAC)
    Italy          Europa Uomo Italia Onlus
    Netherlands    Stichting Contactgroep Prostaatkanker
    Spain          FEFOC
    Sweden         Prostatacancerforbundet
    UK             Prostate Cancer Support Federation

    The creation of the charter was supported by financial assistance from
    Ferring Pharmaceuticals


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