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NHS not keeping up on prostate cancer

NHS care standards for prostate cancer are not keeping pace with improvements in treatment and detection. That is the message MPs and peers will have taken from the January 2012 meeting of the All Party Group on Men's Health. 

Simon Chowdhury and Declan Cahill from Guy and St Thomas' Hospital presented the good news on improvements in identification and treatment of prostate cancer. They argued that studies show that screening works and that experience helps avoid the problem of over treatment. Using a range of diagnostic aids, not only the PSA test, is key in this process.

They went on to say that new treatments for the disease raise the possibility of it becoming a chronic condition.

More certainty on prostate cancer pleased MHF CEO Peter Baker. He highlighted the high rates of cancer in men and the social gradient within the figures on men and cancer.

Parliamentarians 'concerned'

He said that there were lessons for working with men on prostate cancer from the Forum's research on increasing the bowel cancer screening rate. This showed that there are low levels of awareness of symptoms, that some men will not go for testing if they feel generally well and that there is a degree of fatalism about cancers. The research also showed that this issues can be tackled with the right messages and support of health professionals.

The final speaker was Jim Laing, a patient campaigner with the Prostate Cancer Charity. He called for a prostate cancer patient quality care standard comparable with that for breast cancer. He said that despite a government promise, and a NICE review of the clinical guidelines, there will be no patient care standard at all until at least 2013.

MHF external affairs officer Colin Penning, who services the All-Party Group, said: 'Parliamentarians at the meeting were concerned at the points raised by Peter Baker and Jim Laing and promised to seek action from the government. The MHF will work to see that this happens.'

Page created on January 27th, 2012

Page updated on January 27th, 2012