MEN need to be more proactive in tackling prostate cancer, a leading Cumbria health campaigner has said.

Statistically, men are at a one in eight risk of developing the condition - rising to one in three for those over 50.

Genetic factors, such as whether a relative has had breast cancer, can also lead to an elevated risk.

Yet a local cancer support group says men are leaving themselves to fate by not requesting tests for the condition from their GPs - despite it being the most commonly-diagnosed cancer in the UK.

“The PSA test - which costs about a tenner - is a simple, two-second process. You can get it from your GP quite easily,” says Den Bray, Chairman at the Bay Prostate Cancer Support Group.

“Whereas cervical smear tests have to be prescribed by a medical professional, anyone can get the PSA test from their doctor if they ask.

“But this also means doctors may be reluctant to suggest getting this type of test.

“So men really have to be proactive in getting the test - which isn’t easy for them on this subject.”

The support group meets monthly at the Kendal Wetherspoons and at the Blackhall Road Cancer Care centre, which is also in Kendal.

For the foreseeable period, Mr Bray says, the support group’s activities have been put on hold, as Coronavirus continues its rapid spread.

However, the group has managed to hold a number of awareness events in March, as part of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, before the government lockdown order came into effect this week.

One of those initiatives involved Mr Bray paying a visit to Heysham nuclear station - since EDF, which operates the power station, has made Prostate Cancer UK their charity of the year.

There were some 1,200 workers on-site that day for Mr Bray to stop and chat with or hand an informative leaflet.

He believes the key to his message is getting it across in a more everyday scenario.

“It’s all very good speaking with a consultant, who can bamboozle you with the science.

“I think for a lot of men, it makes a real difference being able to take this out of a clinical context.”

“It’s no good complaining to your missus about getting up to pee in middle of the night - as soon as got the slightest doubt, you need to get yourself to the doc and get tested.”

Last year, Mr Bray launched a successful awareness campaign through distributing beer mats with information on prostate health in Barrow pubs.

The image on the front of the mats is a clear metaphor for the men he is trying to get through to - an ostrich with its head buried in the ground.

He says he still has 3,000 beer mats left and is looking for volunteers to help hand out the remaining mats to pubs willing to stock them in the near future.