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I live in the UK and women over the age of 50 are offered a mammogram routinely every 3 years and more frequently if there is a close family history. There is no prostate screening here but men can have psa tests on request. However even with breast screening 12100 people die each year which includes 99 men. The death rate for men from prostate cancer is 10000. Iagree with Terry that most women are more health aware and talk more about it. Doctors here still point out that the psa test can be inconclusive and cause worry and un-needed biopsies and treatment.
I'm going to go out on a limb and add another possibility to the fine points already made by Terry. I hope this doesn't come across as sexist because that is not my intention. I think one of the reasons why breast cancer gets more attention is because women are the "fairer sex" (delicate flowers and all that). Therefore, IMO, a disease that threatens their life is going to garner more attention than a disease that kills men.
To use an example that has nothing to do with disease, in the USA, while women serve proudly in the military, they are not front-line soldiers. I can only surmise that this is because the public outcry over the loss of several thousand women's lives in combat would be something the military does not want to have to deal with, especially if the war is a controversial one.
I think Alan is right about this being another facet of a complex issue.
The development of the lumpectomy (the removal of the minimum amount of disese from the breast) instead of the mastectomy - the removal of the entire breast - was deveoped in France. I read a very interesting book on the way on which medicine is practised in different countries. The French are very concerned about what might be termed the cosmetic aspects of disease as well as the curative ones. One of the emptional issues that most women have when have breast cancer surgery is how to deal with the loss of one or both breasts: the lumpectomy procedure helps to deal with that and has an equally good track record in suitable cases.
Although men are as emotionally concerned about the the consequences of their prostatectomy it has not been possible to date to develop a satisfactory 'lumpectomy' therapy. Would more resources have been put into this aspect if men were as organised as women?
One other point I meant to mention was the sterling work done some ten years ago by some very powerful women working for their men in the prostate cancer field. They got things done where men couldn't - or wouldn't!
Both my husband and I have had cancer. In 2000 I was diagnosed. By way of a lumpectomy and radiation I am cancer free. My husband now has prostate cancer. I feel that the reason we hear more about breast cancer is that woman are more vocal and demand better treatment. Men are more shy and less vocal (macho).They don't wish to call attention to themselves. They are reluctant to openly discuss their prostate cancer because it is simply too personal.
I have PC and my wife has had BC. To expand on what Terry said: The organization of prostate cancer is still run by surgeons (urologists) while all other solid tumors have moved from a surgical perspective to an oncological perspective. Surgeons are rarely researchers whereas oncologists are. All of the funding goes to the researchers who are adapt in fund raising and for successsful fund raising you need an awareness campaign. Surgeons are not good fund raisers. There have been several articles about this in the urological journals calling for more urologists to go into research, because this is where the funding is allocated.
I've often wondered why this is so also. Here in the states prostate cancer rate is 1 in 6 and breast cancer 1 in 7. However there is much more awareness toward Breast cancer. Largely due to the work of Susan G Komen organization. I spoke to a female friend who just had a mastectomy about this and she thought this was due to the fact men controlled the money, thus women had to organize to get anything. Men just never organized. I feel that since mastectomies are more visible than radical a prostatectomy. And men like breasts it gets more visibility.