Comedian Bill Bailey is standing up to front Prostate Cancer UK’s new campaign to ‘crack’ prostate cancer once and for all.

The new campaign begins this month and comes as new statistics illustrate the continued neglect around the disease.

These figures show that, despite being the most common cancer in men and the fourth most common cancer overall, prostate cancer lies twentieth in the league table of annual cancer research spend per case diagnosed.

The figures, published this week by Prostate Cancer UK, also show that breast cancer — the most common female cancer that has a similar death rate as prostate cancer — received more than double the annual research spend (£853 per case diagnosed compared to £417 respectively).

Prostate cancer kills one man every hour and is already the most common cancer in men. It is predicted to become the most common cancer of all in the UK by 2030.

Bill, 47, is now appearing in a series of television, digital and print adverts as Prostate Cancer UK launches its first large-scale communications campaign.

Bill, whose father-in-law has survived prostate cancer, said he is determined to help Prostate Cancer UK expose the scale of the disease, and the fact it has suffered a legacy of under-funding and a lack of awareness.

“I only campaign for the things I believe in, and I feel very strongly about this," he said. "I read a news article about the number of men affected by prostate cancer and I was shocked by the figures. I had no idea it was so common — but, if caught early enough, can be successfully treated.

“Blokes are not always good at taking care of themselves and, even if they know they have a health problem, they often don’t want to talk about it — or they just hope it will go away.

“I want The Sledgehammer Fund to help change that. I hope the advert that I’ve made for Prostate Cancer UK will get men talking about prostate cancer and their prostates. The charity wants to raise more money for research because there’s a need for better treatments and better ways of diagnosing prostate cancer — so the deadlier tumours are caught, before it’s too late.”

The Sledgehammer Fund aims to generate cash to support Prostate Cancer UK’s work to increase research spend into the disease, as well as improve the support men receive through the delivery of world class services.

The Fund, which will run between January and the end of March, will also feature a series of hard-hitting print ads, which have been designed to ‘rattle the cage’, and set the issue out in stark terms.