There are fresh concerns that thousands of men across the Tyne Tees region could be living with undiagnosed prostate cancer.
New figures from Prostate Cancer UK show there were 8,000 fewer urgent referrals for the disease across the North East and Yorkshire last year.
Prostate Cancer UK says it is largely due to fewer consultations between men and their GPs.
This is part of a wider drop around 52,000 in urgent urological referrals across England, a plunge of 28%.
The leading men's health charity warns that this number is set to grow if the drop in referrals is not reversed. Many of these 'missing men' could have life-threatening cancer, and unless they are found quickly, they risk being diagnosed too late to be cured.
NHS England data released this week showed that although referral rates were improving across the country towards the end of 2020, they dropped by a further 270 (10%) in January, as the country dealt with a new wave of the pandemic.
Unlike other cancers, early prostate cancer often has no symptoms, so as the UK approaches 12 months since the first lockdown, the charity is asking the public to share its 30-second risk checker to help men understand their risk of the disease and help to find the 'missing men' who should have started treatment this last year.
Who is most at risk?
Men over 50
Black men over 45
Men with a family history of prostate cancer
Matt Birnholz, MDPeer