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Gala dinner to raise funds for breakthrough UEA prostate cancer project

PUBLISHED: 15:40 06 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:40 06 December 2017

Think Pink and Blue's charity dinner will be heled at Open on Friday, March 2. Committee members, left to right, Fiona Ryder, Dean Harper, Sarah Softley, Dawn Knibb and Ruth Thurston. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Think Pink and Blue's charity dinner will be heled at Open on Friday, March 2. Committee members, left to right, Fiona Ryder, Dean Harper, Sarah Softley, Dawn Knibb and Ruth Thurston. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

A charity that has raised more than £100,000 for breast cancer research is shifting its focus.

Professor Colin Cooper led guests on a tour around the laboratory at Bob Champion building at the UEA. Picture: Jungle PR LtdProfessor Colin Cooper led guests on a tour around the laboratory at Bob Champion building at the UEA. Picture: Jungle PR Ltd

Think Pink has relaunched as Think Pink and Blue and for the first time will be hosting a gala dinner in aid of regional research into ovarian and prostate cancer.

Since the charity’s conception in 2004, research funding into ovarian and prostate cancer has fallen way behind breast cancer and Think Pink and Blue is aiming to plug this gap by raising funds to support research projects at the University of Cambridge and at the UEA.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the UK and Professor Colin Cooper, who is the lead researcher in the UEA’s prostate cancer research project, says the major challenge is identifying aggressive cancers.

He said: “The big problem is with diagnosis. Half a million men across North America and Europe are diagnosed with cancer each year. For a quarter of those men you can tell at the time of diagnosis that it’s going to be an aggressive form. For another quarter, you can tell that it is unlikely to cause any clinical symptoms. The problem is, there are a quarter of a million men in the middle who you can’t decipher as having an aggressive or non-aggressive form.”

Professor Colin Cooper is leading groundbreaking research into prostate cancer at UEA. Picture: Jungle PR LtdProfessor Colin Cooper is leading groundbreaking research into prostate cancer at UEA. Picture: Jungle PR Ltd

Currently, an indecipherable diagnosis will result in a man having his prostate removed, often unnecessarily.

Prof Cooper added: “The prostate lies at the centre of a man’s plumbing and if you take it out you make a man impotent. It is a life changing operation and currently 24 men are receiving this treatment for every one life saved.”

Fortunately, the professor and his team have made a momentous discovery - the challenge now is obtaining the necessary funding to put these findings into action.

He said: “The money from Think Pink & Blue will fund a groundbreaking project which effectively provides a solution to this diagnosis problem. Using very complicated maths we have been able to identify this aggressive subgroup of cancers.

“What we need now is financial support to develop machinery so that we can translate our findings into a clinical test that will have a real impact on people’s lives.”

Think Pink and Blue’s gala dinner will take place at 7pm on Friday, March 2. For more information on this and three other fundraising initiatives, visit www.thinkpinkandblue.co.uk

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