- On International Men’s Day, the government alongside Prostate Cancer UK announced a £42 million screening trial that seeks to detect the country’s most common male cancer early
- Hundreds of thousands of men across the country will participate, with one in 10 participants being black men who have a much higher risk of prostate cancer
- NHS England will make a series of online improvements to its men’s health pages and the first Men’s Health Ambassador will be appointed by the government
Thousands of men’s lives could be saved and their loved ones spared the tragedy of losing someone to cancer, as a new prostate cancer screening trial gets underway in the UK with £42m support from the government and Prostate Cancer UK. .
The first trial – called TRANSFORM – will use innovative screening methods such as MRI scans to detect prostate cancer and will involve hundreds of thousands of men across the country.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK and there is no screening programme. It often has no symptoms until it has grown large and can be more difficult to treat and sadly 12,000 men die from it each year.
An effective prostate cancer screening could find these men before the cancer spreads and save their lives.
The trial is likely to show that new screening methods are more accurate than current blood tests, which can miss some cancers and often suggest prostate cancer when there is none. cancer.
Importantly, screening can also detect the disease even when no symptoms are present.
Minister for Health and Social Care Victoria Atkins said:
Cancer survival rates continue to improve in the UK, with the disease being diagnosed at an earlier stage more often. But there’s much more to do.
We hope that this funding will help save thousands more men’s lives through innovative screening methods that can detect prostate cancer as early as possible.
Laura Kerby, Chief Executive at Prostate Cancer UK, said:
12,000 men die from prostate cancer each year and it is the most common type of cancer without a national screening program.
It’s time for a change. That’s why we’re launching our biggest and most ambitious trial ever. It will finally give us the answers we need to develop a routine testing system and save thousands of lives every year.
Prostate Cancer UK’s unique focus and expertise has made us the only organization that can truly deliver this paradigm-changing trial and we’re delighted that the government has given its backing Our vision to revolutionize diagnostics.
1 in 4 black men will develop prostate cancer – the risk is twice as high as other men. So, to ensure the trial helps reduce the risk of dying from the disease, 1 in 10 men invited to participate will be black men. Men participating in the screening trial will be aged 50-75, with black men eligible at the lower age range of 45-75.
Men at higher risk of prostate cancer due to age and ethnicity will be recruited through their GP and invited for a screening visit.
On average each year in the UK, more than 52,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer – that’s 144 men every day. Approximately 490,000 men are currently living with and after prostate cancer.
Sports broadcaster Steve Rider, 73, shared his prostate cancer diagnosis last month:
Thanks to talking to friends, I learned about my risk for prostate cancer, I didn’t have any symptoms and didn’t expect to be diagnosed.
Fortunately, my cancer was all in the prostate, giving me the opportunity to have vital surgery to deal with it, but for too many men, they are diagnosed late.
£16 million will be invested in the trial by the government through the National Institute for Health Research and Prostate Cancer UK, which is leading the development of the trial, will provide £26 million. The trial will begin in spring 2024 and recruitment may begin in fall 2024.
The government has opened 127 community diagnostic centers to provide faster, more convenient testing outside of hospitals for conditions such as cancer, with more than 5 million additional tests already carried out for now.
The major diseases strategy will also look at the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases including cancer. The UK is currently collaborating with world-renowned scientists to carry out new cancer vaccine trials and is increasing the size of its specialist workforce.
Daniel Burkey, 58, from Yorkshire, was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in June 2021. He said:
Men need to be screened for prostate cancer so that if they have it, we can detect it early to treat and remove it. I received my diagnosis at age 50 and my doctor gave me the terrible news that the disease was incurable.
It was a terrible shock and I still have difficulty accepting that I will always have this disease, but I am doing everything I can to control the cancer with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and two types of hormone therapy; one by injection, one by mouth.
Things could have been different if I had been tested regularly and detected early. If the UK implemented prostate cancer screening, many lives would be saved. Knowing that this experiment will find a way to do that makes me more optimistic about other men.
Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Executive of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), said:
New research harnessing advanced screening methods is vital in finding ways to detect this serious disease earlier, in the race against time to save lives.
That’s why setting up this landmark new trial in partnership between NIHR and Prostate Cancer UK is so important.
Together, we can aim to generate high-quality long-term evidence to benefit men at risk of this condition and inform those planning and delivering NHS services about how best to test for this disease.
In other measures announced today:
Men’s Health Ambassador:
- The Government is to recruit the UK’s first Men’s Health Ambassador. We are inviting applications from anyone with an interest and expertise in men’s health.
- The successful candidate, to be announced in the coming months, will be responsible for raising awareness of a number of health conditions and needs facing men. They will help break down taboos and stigmas, and encourage men to talk more openly about their general health.
- This role will soon be open to candidates on GOV.UK.
NHS website updates:
- NHS England will deliver a series of important improvements and updates to the pages on the website most used by men.
- This will make it easier for men to find and understand the help and support offered for certain conditions.
- Pages on issues such as prostatitis, testicular cancer and low sperm count will be updated in the coming months.
Men’s Health Mission and End Group:
- The Government will establish the first Men’s Health Task and Enhancement Group.
- Members will include behavioral scientists, men’s health advocates, experts and academics.
- Together, they will help us identify how we can get more men interested in their health, including focusing on better understanding men’s access to health benefits. primary care, such as GPs, and men’s participation in NHS Health Checks.