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Commercial van-buying website Vansunited has formed a partnership with the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF) to help raise awareness of the risks of prostate cancer to the van driving community.

There is cause for a large percentage of van drivers to be concerned about the disease as diet has been cited as a key risk factor.

A recent Vansunited poll found that more than 60% of van drivers frequent cafes and fast food establishments.

Those with a higher intake of animal fat and greasy foods are at higher risk of prostate cancer than men who lead a healthy lifestyle.

The reasons for the bad diet were almost all commercial – convenience, speed, low price and lacklustre alternatives.

Vansunited has called for potentially life-saving tests for prostate cancer to be freely available on the NHS.

Presently, only those with private healthcare, such as BUPA, have a test as standard, while the disease continues to kill one man every hour in the UK.

Prostate cancer is diagnosed in 32,000 men each year in Britain, with 10,000 dying from the disease annually.

Lack of awareness is a major issue and, with men having a one in 10 lifetime risk of being diagnosed, many feel the NHS must take more of a role.

The good news is that the earlier prostate cancer is diagnosed, the more likely the success of treatment.

Duncan Coleman, product manager at Vansunited, said: “Why must men be forced to ask for a prostate cancer test when it is the most commonly diagnosed male cancer in Britain and kills almost one man every hour?

“We initially thought this was one of those things most men shied away from and wouldn’t want to consider – but we have found that very few even know about it.

"This horrifyingly low general awareness of the disease is unacceptable and the NHS needs to provide its support in changing that fact.”

He added: “Back in 1988 the government realised the need to launch the national programme of ensuring women were proactively invited for regular smear tests – potentially saving thousands of lives each year from cervical cancer.

"We now want them to provide the same consideration for men who may be at risk from prostate cancer.”

As part of the campaign, Vansunited and the PCRF have been educating male van drivers and the wider male audience about the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer.

Those most at risk include men over 50, those who have a close relative who has had prostate cancer (father, uncle or brother) and those who eat a high-fat diet.

With women making up almost a third of visitors to the site, Vansunited has also called for the female audience to encourage husbands, partners and doctors to push for the test.

A doctor’s visit should be arranged if any general concerns or any of the following occur:

  • Difficulties with urination.
  • Lack of satisfying pressure.
  • A feeling that the bladder is empty, then needing to pass urine again.
  • Getting up to pass urine during the night.
  • Problems gaining or holding an erection.
  • The presence of blood in the urine (rare).

Emma Halls, CEO of the PCRF, said: “We welcome the support from Vansunited – a high percentage of its audience is male and unaware of the risks.

“Raising awareness of this terrible disease is essential as many men don’t even know what a prostate is or what it does.

"We would strongly advise male van drivers – and men in general – to visit doctors for a check-up or visit the information pages on the Vansunited website:”

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