Experts at Prostate Cancer UK said the disease – already the most common cancer in men – is predicted to become the most prevalent cancer of all in less than 20 years.
Edinburgh, with its ageing population, is expected to reflect the worrying national trend.
A spokeswoman for the charity said: “Prostate cancer kills one man every hour, and the number of men with the disease is rising at an alarming rate. Already the most common cancer in men, it is predicted to become the most common cancer of all in the UK by 2030.”
The latest figures show that more than 400 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in the Lothians in 2010.
Yet, despite being the most common cancer in men and the fourth most common cancer overall, prostate cancer sits 20th in the “league table” of annual cancer research spend per case diagnosed.
Breast cancer, the most common female cancer, which has a similar death rate as prostate cancer, received more than double the annual research spend – £853 per case diagnosed compared to £417 for prostate cancer.
Dr Dermot Gorman, consultant in public health medicine at NHS Lothian, said it is vital men are aware of the symptoms and seek early treatment.
He said: “Prostate cancer is common in older men, with some 450 new cases detected and over 100 deaths in Lothian men each year. It’s important that men are aware of the symptoms of prostate disease.
“We already provide a range of specialist cancer treatments for prostate cancer and are always looking to improve the effectiveness of the care we provide.”
Comedian Bill Bailey is fronting a new awareness campaign.
The 47-year-old – whose father-in-law was diagnosed with the cancer – said: “I only campaign for the things I believe in and I feel very strongly about this. I read a news article about the number of men affected by prostate cancer and I was shocked by the figures. I had no idea it was so common but, if caught early enough, can be successfully treated.
“Blokes are not always good at taking care of themselves and, even if they know they have a health problem, they often don’t want to talk about it – or they just hope it will go away.”
He added: “I hope the advert that I’ve made for Prostate Cancer UK will get men talking about prostate cancer and their prostates.
“The charity wants to raise more money for research because there’s a need for better treatments and better ways of diagnosing prostate cancer, so the deadlier tumours are caught before it’s too late.”
Lothian Health Board recorded 417 cases of prostate cancer in 2010. Across Scotland, around 2700 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, with 19,000 currently living with the disease.
‘IT HITS YOU LIKE A SLEDGEHAMMER’
IAN Robb admits he knew very little about prostate cancer before his diagnosis out of the blue in March 2009.
Like the majority of men, symptoms such as visiting the toilet more frequently and back pain were pushed to the side and attributed to simply being over 50.
Eventually, Ian, who was 55 years old at the time, made an appointment with his doctor. Ian, now 59, who lives in Fairmilehead, said: “My doctor immediately referred me to the Royal Infirmary. After tests and examinations, they confirmed that I had prostate cancer. I was shocked and stunned.
“To suddenly be in hospital that same evening to be told I had advanced prostate cancer that was potentially beyond treatment and secondary cancer which had reached my spine, hence the back pain, was devastating.”
Ian, who is married to Diane and owns IMR Solutions in Edinburgh, added: “It hits you like a sledgehammer. You instantly think about your loved ones and not being there for them in the future. My wife and I had just ordered a new suite for the conservatory and I remember thinking ‘would I still be here to see the delivery in six months’ time?’
“After around ten days in hospital, I was discharged and have since been receiving hormone treatment injections every three months to control the PSA [prostate-specific antigen] count. Currently there is no treatment available to cure my disease, only to control it. I try to live my life with the same attitude as I did the day before I had cancer.
“My message to men is don’t ignore the signs until it’s too late like I did. Be aware of the existence of prostate cancer and consult your doctor if symptoms arise. It can be successfully treated if identified early.”