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Phil's insulted Bob's memory

I felt compelled to reply to the article written by Phil Peverley (Columnists, 21 June) about his aversion to the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation's Give a Few Bob campaign.

I felt compelled to reply to the article written by Phil Peverley (Columnists, 21 June) about his aversion to the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation's Give a Few Bob campaign.

The article comes from the rather outdated and – it must be said – British school of thought on this disease: that it is better not to know. It is an opinion held by a minority and he is entitled to it.

What Dr Peverley cannot be allowed to get away with is insulting the memory of Bob Monkhouse in this way and getting his facts so wrong. First, although the campaign did aim to increase awareness about prostate cancer, it was first and foremost a fundraising campaign for research into better understanding of the disease and therefore resolving, once and for all, the dilemmas that Dr Peverley articulates.

Second, it was not Government-funded. In fact, the campaign, which received a media value of more than £3m, was developed by a highly professional and committed group of people who generously gave their time, energy and expertise free of charge. Third, Dr Peverley states that he has little, if any, knowledge of or interest in this issue anyway. I doubt this position will hold as he reaches his own fifth and sixth decades, when the risk will become real and he will see friends and colleagues benefiting from clinical innovation and discovery funded as a result of campaigns such as this.

Bob Monkhouse himself spoke of his experience of the disease with the kind of humour that has been integrated into this campaign. Men are famously embarrassed about addressing their own health, so if a few jokes from Bob can help people realise how behind we are in terms of knowledge and how urgently we need money to help look for better treatments and to find cures then I for one am in full support.

From Mr Mark Emberton FRCS, trustee of Prostate Cancer Research Foundation and consultant urologist, University College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

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