Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has spoken out in support of Male Cancer Awareness Week after he met a constituent who is living with prostate cancer.
Arundel resident Stephen Nightingale visited Mr Herbert in one of his constituency advice ‘surgeries’ last month to discuss the need for more screening to prevent this type of cancer and a boost for research to find a cure.
Prostate cancer currently kills one man an hour in the UK, with 11,819 deaths in 2015. There are no routine screening programmes for men, but there is growing awareness about the disease. Men are encouraged to be aware of the signs and symptoms and to feel comfortable in asking their GP for tests if they have concerns.
GPs are able to conduct a simple blood test, but this alone is not enough to determine the presence of cancerous cells. The test can produce a ‘false-positive’ result and is one of the reasons why this form of screening is not offered as routine at the moment.
While survival rates are increasing – men diagnosed today with prostate cancer are 2.5 times more likely to live for ten years or more than they would have done if diagnosed in 1990 – more men are dying from the cancer each year than women are from breast cancer. This is partly in due to an increasing population and lifespan.
Last week the Prime Minister announced that £75 million will be given to help thousands of men to get treated earlier and faster. The programme will include the recruitment of 40,000 patients to support the testing of new and more precise treatments.
Early diagnosis and lifestyle are also important factors for improving survival rates. The Government’s proposals for a pilot scheme will seek to reduce diagnosis time from six weeks to just a few days. This will be done by offering patients a single day of tests, to include blood tests and scanning. Supportive interventions will include specific dietary and exercise advice.
Prostate Cancer UK are currently leading research with a £2.7 million programme to find a vaccine.
Mr Herbert said he was very grateful to have had the opportunity to learn about such an important issue. He said: “I am very grateful to Stephen for taking the time to come and meet me in my surgery in Arundel and to highlight the current statistics for male cancer. I was very touched by the fact that although his own battle cannot be won, he wants to campaign for more to be done to help the next generation of men.
“I especially welcome the Government’s announcement this week of additional funding for research to help beat this form of cancer.”