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Scots GPs lag behind UK in prostate cancer talks with patients

A MAJOR campaign against ­prostate cancer is launched today as a charity claims many Scots GPs are failing to talk to men in high-risk groups about the disease.

Prostate Cancer UK's research has found only 4% of Scottish GPs always initiate discussions with men over the age of 50 who have no symptoms.

The charity has signed up former Scotland and Manchester United legend Denis Law, 73, who recovered from the disease a decade ago, to a football-themed "Men United" team which aims to appeal to sports fans everywhere.

Prostate cancer is the second-biggest killer among cancers in Scotland, with 2806 people diagnosed in 2011. It was behind the deaths of 881 people in 2012.

Owen Sharp, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK said: "If the system were more geared to men, GPs would be alerting them to their risk, and explaining their options as a matter of course, but it's not happening.

"Men are dying through ignorance and we have to change that by giving them answers and helping them to engage in their own health."

The charity has warned that, in some areas, communication over its symptoms between GPs and patients is significantly lower than elsewhere in the UK.

Only 11% of family doctors said they brought up the topic with patients over 50 who have no symptoms but had an increased risk due to their family history, compared to 23% in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Scottish GPs were less aware of a man's right to have a PSA test on the NHS which can identify prostate problems, the research found. A quarter of Scottish GPs were unaware that men had this right, compared to 12% of GPs elsewhere in the UK.

Law and broadcaster Sir Michael Parkinson are among those in the Men United team that will "take on" prostate cancer in advertising campaigns.

Law, who was treated in 2003, said: "As with footballing opponents, prostate cancer is not something that can be beaten by individuals. Victory only comes when the whole team rallies round for the cause."

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