Every year 346,000 new cases of prostate cancer are detected in Europe, every day 240 men die of the condition. At least 1 in 10 people age 65 or older suffers from urinary incontinence, the involuntary loss of urine. And epidemiologic data indicate that erectile dysfunction (ED) is a significant problem among men worldwide. As many as 42.8 million men are expected to suffer from ED in Europe alone in 2025. Shame and unreported symptoms are among the key reasons why many Europeans neglect to seek medical help when experiencing complaints. The European Association of Urology (EAU) would like to bring urological conditions and the work of the urologist to the attention of the general public. Thus Urology Week was set up, from 15 to 19 September 2008.

The EAU, the European knowledge centre of urology in Arnhem (NL), asks attention for 3 key subjects: prostate conditions (especially BPH and prostate cancer), incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

The EAU launched a website as platform for the promotional activities for this week: urologyweek is a general public-oriented site which should provide people with information about urological conditions and when to seek help from a urologist. The site includes data about the three major pathologies in the form of patient and expert interviews, film footage, background articles, etc.

A total of 23 national urological societies in Europe have committed themselves to participate in Urology Week with a special programme. A good example of the use of 'new media' is the French campaign: interviews with men asking them about their prostate have been published on youtube.

The EAU aims to involve urological nurses associations and patient organisations. Hospitals and medical institutions are invited to participate so that the public is reached.

Promotional material, such as posters and brochures, is available on the English-language website. All can be used freely.

The EAU cooperates with Europa UOMO, a European advocacy movement for the fight against prostate cancer. A number of key statements have been defined and are listed on the website. A few examples:

Prostate conditions

- Most men will develop benign prostate disease; many of them will develop complaints for which medical and surgical treatments are available.

- Cancers diagnosed by early detection programmes do not always need treatment. Active monitoring for selected patients is a reasonable option that still allows to initiate curative treatment during follow-up when needed.

- A family history is not anecdotal. Please check your sons and brothers.

Incontinence

- Bladder symptoms may be related to overactivity of the bladder rather than to prostate disease and are amenable to treatment. This should be checked since specific treatment is indicated.

Erectile dysfunction (ED)

- ED may be the presenting symptom of hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes and hormonal changes.

- The urologist is the specialist who can best advise on the prevention and control of both lower urinary tract symptoms and ED, which are commonly associated with each other.

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