Why we fund the diseases that are being neglected

16 August, Tim Burton - 

Cancer research is a crucial part of 21st century medicine and has seen countless millions invested into it in recent years. Too right; it’s taken far too many people away from us and we need to do everything we can to stop that. But are there diseases that are being forgotten about?

Underfunded diseases have a huge impact

In urology there are a number of diseases that are not cancerous, but have a huge impact on millions of lives across the country. Non-cancerous diseases are known as ‘benign’ and they include diseases such as incontinence, erectile dysfunction, urinary tract infection, kidney stones, and BPH (an enlarged prostate) amongst others. They can be devastating.

BPH affects around half of men over the age of 50 and 80% of men over the age of 80. Meanwhile, overactive bladder (a form of incontinence) is more common than diabetes and more common than asthma, affecting around 1 in 8 people in Britain. Whilst these diseases might not get spoken about often, and whilst they are not deadly, they still have the ability to devastate millions of lives.

A disease like urinary incontinence has a bigger negative impact on quality of life than any other disease in the whole of medicine, apart from dementia. It can often leave people housebound and is one of the most common reasons for people to stop living independently and to start living in a care home. The NHS also spends around £100 million a year on incontinence pads, which is a little insight into the huge financial burden these diseases are to the NHS and on a personal financial level.

Around 3 in every 4 emergency admissions in urology are because of these ‘benign’ diseases. Unlike cancer, these diseases are just as likely to happen to younger people as they are to older people, which means that a person’s life can be negatively affected from as young as 20. As well as this, treating a patient with a chronic illness for most of their life comes at a huge cost to the NHS.

Sadly, these diseases are being neglected. We need to invest more in them.

The Urology Foundation has a fantastic track record

Whilst we have invested millions of pounds into cancer research, The Urology Foundation (TUF) has also invested money into research that looks at benign disease, and with great effect.

Take, for example, the research conducted by Mr Arun Sahai into the use of Botox as a treatment for overactive bladder (incontinence). Botox has now become a routine treatment for overactive bladder across the world and has changed millions of lives for the better.

Cancer research is particularly effective because researchers work in big teams and when one research project is finished it is picked up by others. The research goes on longer and has a much greater chance of success.

The Urology Foundation would love to be able to provide long term research funding into life changing conditions like incontinence, erectile dysfunction BPH, and kidney stones, however, we can only do that with the support of people like you.

Will you help us invest serious money into these Cinderella diseases that are too often being neglected in the world of research funding? We have shown that funding these diseases can have a profound impact on millions of lives. It is uncommon for a person to lose their life to a benign disease, but it is all too common for a person to lose their quality of life to a benign disease.

Help us make a difference to millions of lives today. Give to The Urology Foundation and be someone who stands up for people with forgotten diseases. Donate today >

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