‘Turnbull and Fry effect’ hailed amid surge in visits to NHS cancer advice pages

Stephen Fry and Bill Turnbull have been praised for raising awareness of prostate cancer through their own experiences with the disease.

The presenters coming forward about their prostate cancer diagnoses may have led to a surge in people visiting the NHS online advice pages.

Turnbull announced he had been diagnosed with an advanced form of the disease in March, just weeks after Fry revealed he was recovering from prostate cancer surgery.

NHS England said there were 70,000 visits to the NHS website advice page on prostate cancer in March, a 250% increase from the monthly average of around 20,000.

Simon Stevens has praised the presenters for coming forward, saying: “The Turnbull and Fry effect could help save lives.”

It comes as the NHS England chief executive announced a funding boost for prostate cancer services to cope with rising demand for services.

He announced an injection of £10 million to increase capacity, helping services see and treat the extra people coming forward for help.

NHS England said that from April to July 2018, 14,479 patients received treatment for a urological cancer – an increase of 36% compared with the same period in 2017.

“A debt of gratitude is owed to Bill Turnbull and Stephen Fry for the work they have done to urge men to seek medical advice if they think something isn’t right,” Mr Stevens said.

“The Turnbull and Fry effect could help save lives.

“This additional investment will help ensure the NHS can manage this jump in demand, so that all people with suspected cancer are tested and treated quickly.”

Former QI host Fry, 61, urged “men of a certain age” to get themselves tested after revealing his diagnosis in February.

Meanwhile former BBC Breakfast host Turnbull said he hoped that by talking about his experiences, it would help encourage other men to get tested for prostate cancer, which is the most common form of cancer in UK men, sooner.

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