Greater awareness and earlier diagnosis can help save lives is the message of Prostate Scotland’s current prostate awareness initiative. It was inspired by survey research published by the charity on World Cancer Day, 4 February 2019, that found that only just over half of the members of the public surveyed could name a single symptom of prostate disease and a third of men over 55 (the most vulnerable group) were similarly unaware.

The survey by KantarTNS (i) also showed that a significant number of the public have a personal connection to prostate disease and cancer, with 34% of Scottish population knowing someone (themselves, a friend or family member) being affected by prostate disease. A majority of those surveyed (63%) were aware that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in Scotland, but there was however a low awareness of the prevalence of prostate disease with only 2% of those surveyed aware it could affect 1 in 2 men at some point in life and 26% believing it only affects 1 in 10.

The ‘Pull Your Finger Out’ Initiative by Prostate Scotland aims to encourage greater awareness of prostate cancer and disease and its symptoms. It also encourages more men who become aware of potential signs and symptoms to get these checked. The campaign includes a TV advert encouraging greater awareness to encourage earlier diagnosis and thereby even greater survival from prostate cancer. The broadcast commercial will run in prime time and day time slots on STV on World Cancer Day on 4 February 2019 and throughout the rest of the month to the end of March.  An awareness radio advert on several local stations will run alongside the TV advert.

Professor Alan McNeill, Trustee of Prostate Scotland and Consultant Urological Surgeon said: “We are encouraging men if they have prostate symptoms to pull their fingers out and see their doctors. Prostate cancer affects more men in Scotland than any other cancer, with one in ten men being at risk – and yet half of all men are not aware of the symptoms of prostate problems and are unclear of where their prostate is. Every now and again I meet men with prostate cancer who were unaware that their own risk was increased because their father or brother had had the disease. Sometimes this lack of awareness leads to them presenting late by which time we can’t offer curative treatment. Earlier diagnosis and treatment improvements have dramatically improved survival rates – but greater awareness of the condition is required as the number of men likely to develop prostate cancer over the next few years is going to increase.”

Adam Gaines, Director of Prostate Scotland said: “It is good news that a majority of people surveyed in Scotland are now aware that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in Scotland. But too few men are aware of potential signs and symptoms. It is also encouraging that survival from prostate cancer has doubled over the past 20 years, and we hope that this new Pull Your Finger Out Initiative, the new TV and radio advertisements and awareness materials will further raise awareness of prostate cancer and disease and encourage more men where they have signs or symptoms to get these checked early.”

Notes to editors:
1. For further information please contact Tim Dawson on 07984 165251 or

2.  Prostate cancer is the most common cancer amongst men in Scotland, with a lifetime chance of one in ten men developing it (ii).  There were over 33,528 new registrations of men with prostate cancer between cancer between 2005 and 2015 and 9,316 deaths of men in Scotland from prostate cancer during that period (iii).  In 2016 in Scotland 3,167 men were diagnosed in Scotland with prostate cancer and 894 men died from it (iv).  Encouragingly, survival rates amongst men with prostate cancer have doubled over the past two decades with 84% of men with prostate cancer now surviving it (v).  Projections by the NHS show that the diagnosis of men with prostate cancer is likely to rise by up to 35% between now and 2027 (vi).  Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer can be frequent, bloody or painful urination, erectile dysfunction and lower back pain. Sometimes with early prostate cancer there may not be any symptoms. In the case of symptoms get them checked by your GP who may take a blood test to check PSA levels (prostate protein) and conduct a rectal examination to check the size shape and feel of the prostate and may refer a man to a urologist for further investigation and possible biopsy.

3.  The TV advert was directed by award winning Scottish director Ewan Stewart, acted by Carole Rafferty, and developed by the Union Advertising Agency for Prostate Scotland and produced by Mallinson Television Productions.

(i) KantarTNS carried out the survey of a representative sample of the population across Scotland between March and May 2018.  The population sample was weighted to match the population of Scotland

(ii) See Cancer in Scotland:  ISD, NHS National Services Scotland April 2018 pp9

(iii)  See Scottish Cancer Registry May 2017 and Cancer in Scotland, Information Services Division NHS National Services Scotland, April 2017

(iv)  See Cancer in Scotland ISD April 2018

(v)  Cancer in Scotland:  ISD, NHS National Services Scotland, October 2018 pp16-21

(vi) See Scottish Cancer Registry May 2016 and Cancer Incidence in Scotland (2014)  and Information Services Division NHS National Services Scotland November 2015