Stephen Fry has urged men to take a potentially life-saving 30-second online test to calculate their prostate cancer risk.
It comes as World Darts Championship sponsor Paddy Power commit £1million to tackle one of the UK’s deadliest cancers ahead of the Ally Pally event getting underway on Friday.
Actor, writer and broadcaster Fry, 66, underwent an operation to treat aggressive prostate cancer in 2018, saying early intervention and surgery saved his life.
Paddy Power will donate £1,000 to Prostate Cancer UK every time a player hits a maximum 180 during the World Championships, which runs until January 4 at the north London venue.
It is hoped to beat the 901 maximums scored during last year’s tournament so Paddy Power can pay £1m to the charity and help fund crucial research.
Stephen Fry has urged men to take a potentially life-saving 30-second online test to see they’re at risk of prostate cancer, having overcome the deadly disease himself
Darts fans will flock to the Alexandra Palace in London for the World Championships
New data shows the number of people completing Prostate Cancer UK’s online checker was five times higher than during the same time period last year. Of the 25,000 men who have used the tool since the announcement on November 30, seven in ten, some 17,500, have been identified as being ‘high risk’, according to the charity
The bookmaker are also encouraging 180,000 men to use Prostate Cancer UK’s online risk checker in their ‘Big 180’ initiative.
‘Prostate cancer is a serious disease and over one in eight men are diagnosed with it every year. I should know, I was one of them,’ Fry said in an Instagram video.
‘But I also know it’s a curable disease if caught in time.’
Over 25,000 men have already taken the short and simple online test over the past fortnight – a number five times higher than the same period last year.
The aim is to improve diagnosis and treatment of the disease, which kills more than 11,500 men in the UK every year.
Of the 25,000 men who have used the tool since the announcement on November 30, seven in ten, some 17,500, have been identified as being ‘high risk’, according to the charity.
The charity’s risk checker, which helps men understand their risk and decide whether they need a further blood test, involves just three quick questions.
These include your age, your family history of the disease and ethnicity to determine if you carry any of the risk factors.
More than 52,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year on average in the UK, making it the most common cancer in men. Around 12,000 men die every year from the disease — the equivalent of one every 45 minutes
It then provides information on how men over 50 can access a free prostate cancer check and the opportunity to receive further information via email.
This includes links to what you could ask your GP, contact details for the charity’s specialist nurses, and further resources on symptoms of the disease.
One in eight men develop the disease at some point in their lives, with more than 52,000 men diagnosed each year.
But 9,000 men a year are diagnosed once it has already spread, making it the second most common cause of death from cancer in men after lung cancer.
Experts are in agreement that early detection is key to boosting survival rates.
However, with no national screening programme, progress has been slow in bringing numbers down.
Paddy Power says the money raised will fund lifesaving research for men affected by the illness.
The campaign was launched last month by the winner of the 1993/94 PDC World Darts Championship Dennis ‘The Menace’ Priestly — who was treated for the disease after being diagnosed in November 2007.
Rachael Kane, spokesperson for Paddy Power said: ‘This is an incredible result considering the Paddy Power World Darts Championship doesn’t begin until this Friday.
‘We pledged to donate £1,000 every time a 180 is struck during the tournament in the ultimate hopes that we can raise awareness of Prostate Cancer UK’s risk checker tool, encourage 180,000 men to use it, and sign a cheque for probable £1million by the time the tournament has concluded in January.’
She added: ‘If we can cause the number of men checking their risk to multiply by four before a dart has even been thrown, who knows what we can achieve once the action gets underway at the Ally Pally in front of 90,000 fans and a televised audience of millions across the world.’
The risk of prostate cancer increases as you age, with most cases developing in men aged 50 or older, the NHS says.
Paddy Power (left) was pictured with ex-pro darts player and prostate cancer survivor Dennis Priestly (centre) alongside Prostate Cancer UK’s Matt Holdstock for the launch last month
After 901 maximums were scored at the tournament last year, it is hoped that record will be smashed in December and Paddy Power could pay a huge £1million to Prostate Cancer UK. Paddy Power says the money raised will fund lifesaving research for men affected by the illness. The world’s top players will be competing for the Ballon D’Art
Symptoms can include needing to urinate more often, having to wait longer before you can pass urine, erectile dysfunction, blood in urine, weight loss or any new and unexplained lower back pain.
After discussing symptoms a doctor is likely to ask for a urine sample to be checked for infection and a blood sample to test the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which can be used to diagnose prostate cancer.
Celebrities who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer include Stephen Fry, who said he was ‘stunned’ after finding out he had the disease in 2018, but recovered because it was spotted early.
Musician Jools Holland revealed last year that he had been successfully treated for prostate cancer after a diagnosis in 2014.
In August, Prostate Cancer UK also announced that referrals for the disease have reached a record high in the last year — rising 17 per cent — thanks to the ‘Bill Turnbull’ effect.
They said they believe the death of ambassador and presenter encouraged men to go and get tested.
The Daily Mail also recently relaunched its End the Needless Prostate Deaths campaign in a bid to improve diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.