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Health Sciences

Southampton researchers receive prostate cancer funding boost

Published: 5 November 2014

Health researchers from the University of Southampton have been awarded more than £2 million from the Movember Foundation to help improve the lives of men living with prostate cancer.

Health researchers from the University of Southampton have been awarded more than £2 million from the Movember Foundation to help improve the lives of men living with prostate cancer.

As men across the South get ready to grow moustaches to raise money, men living with prostate cancer face huge lifestyle impacts that leave them in the dark about how they can go back to living a normal life.

A significant proportion of affected men will experience sexual health issues such as erectile dysfunction, psychological issues (including depression), and continence issues that have debilitating impacts on their lives and those of their family.

To improve their quality of life, the Movember Foundation has launched the True North programme globally and is working with Prostate Cancer UK to implement the initiative in the UK. Its aim is to enable men to have access to life quality enhancing information, care and support including treatment information, lifestyle advice and better access to healthcare professionals.

University of Southampton researchers have been awarded three funding grants from the Movember Foundation totalling £2.06m. They will investigate how continence management can be improved, how men and their families can be empowered to make better informed decisions about the care and treatment they receive and how the care given after treatment can be improved.

Over the next few years, researchers will be running trials, workshops, developing training programmes, testing out model services and designing new products with patients and clinical staff to answers these questions.

Alison Richardson, Clinical Professor in Cancer Nursing and End of Life Care at the University of Southampton, will lead the project on care after treatment. She comments: “There are over 250,000 men living with and after prostate cancer in the UK and this figure is only set to increase. We know that a significant majority of these men experience a number of devastating side effects as a result of their treatment and this needs to change. We hope that our projects will lead to changes in the way men and their families receive their treatment for the better.”

Associate Professor Lucy Brindle will lead the project that aims to support men’s decision-making about prostate cancer treatment. She comments: “For men diagnosed with early stage (low risk) prostate cancer, there are a number of clinically appropriate treatments that pose different risks and benefits. Our project will help ensure that men have a good understanding of the consequences of treatments and are able to make a treatment choice that is the right one for them”.

Professor Mandy Fader’s project on incontinence management aims to help men manage what can be a taboo subject. She said: "Incontinence is an issue faced by many men who have had prostate cancer. It is a topic that most men find embarrassing and difficult to talk about. Lack of information and access to good products mean that many men worry about leakage and stop going out or taking part in social activities. Our projects will focus on developing new products and service models to ensure continence management improves and men feel less vulnerable and more confident."

The Movember Foundation’s True North has been launched across the UK, as well as Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada. Alongside the University of Southampton, the Universities of Surrey, Cardiff, Sheffield and University College London will lead the UK project.

Professor Dame Jessica Corner, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at University of Southampton, is also Chair of Movember’s Global Prostate Cancer Survivorship Advisory Committee. She adds: “True North is a game-changer in cancer management that will lead the way in supporting the survival of men living with prostate cancer. It will revolutionise the provision of care for prostate cancer survivors and I truly believe that in the coming years, governments and funding bodies will look at True North as a model of care to follow.”

Heather Blake, Director of Services at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “We’re excited to be working alongside the Movember Foundation to shape and deliver the True North programme in the UK. The Universities of Southampton, Surrey, Cardiff, Sheffield and University College London are leading the UK projects which will improve and develop new ways to support men across a number of areas – from improving incontinence products and services, to helping increase understanding of the long term implications of treatment options. The True North programme has the potential to revolutionise post hospital care for men living with prostate cancer in the UK and across the globe, enabling more men to return to a good quality of life.”

The Movember Foundation’s Executive Director of Programs, Paul Villanti, commented, “Historically, the investment into new approaches to prostate cancer care has been very low and the quality of life of many men living with prostate cancer is totally unacceptable. As treatment for men with prostate cancer is completed, many men report fear of recurrence, fatigue, distress, anxiety, depression, erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. Not all of the required services are available to support men in these areas, yet they are vital to supporting men and their families return to living a life as normal as possible. For all these reasons, there is an urgent need to change the way in which prostate cancer services are delivered. True North addresses this head on and will help improve the journey of men and their families living with, and beyond, prostate cancer.”

Notes for editors

1. The Movember Foundation is the leading global organization committed to changing the face of men’s health. The Movember community has raised over $550 million to date, funding over 800 programs in 21 countries. This work is saving and improving the lives of men affected by prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems. The Movember Foundation challenges men to grow moustaches during Movember (formerly known as November), to spark conversation and raise vital funds for its men’s health programs. To date, 4 million moustaches have been grown worldwide, but we won’t stop growing as long as serious men’s health issues exist.

2. Through world-leading research and enterprise activities, the University of Southampton connects with businesses to create real-world solutions to global issues. Through its educational offering, it works with partners around the world to offer relevant, flexible education, which trains students for jobs not even thought of. This connectivity is what sets Southampton apart from the rest; we make connections and change the world.


For more information contact:

Becky Attwood, Media Relations Officer, University of Southampton, Tel: 02380 592116, 07545422512,

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