British Prime Minister pledges £75m for prostate cancer

The announcement of a major investment in prostate cancer research was covered widely by the British media today.

The announcement is covered in the Financial Times and The Guardian newspaper. The main points that were made are:

  • Prostate Cancer kills 11,000 men in the UK every year.
  • Recent statistics showed that Prostate Cancer overtook breast cancer to become the 3rd biggest cancer killer in the UK.
  • Early detection is the key to saving lives and that’s why prostate cancer needs more funding.
  • The most important first step is establishing if a man has an aggressive form of cancer that can grow quickly or a slow growing tumour that may not affect their long-term health and therefore does not need immediate or aggressive treatment.
  • PSA is the wrong screening test for prostate cancer. PSA (prostate specific antigen) level is still the standard screening test in most countries. However, Professor Mark Emberton of University College Hospital in London says that one of the reasons that prostate cancer deaths are so high is that PSA is the wrong test. It can be a signal of prostate cancer but very often it is not. MRI scans after blood tests are a far more accurate way of identifying aggressive tumours.
  • Two high risk categories are black men and men with a family history of prostate cancer.
  • Professor Stehling and Dr. Ross Schwartzberg at Vitus Prostate Center believe that men in the high-risk categories should have an MRI scan of their prostate which gives them an early and accurate picture of their prostate cancer risk.
  • Over 40,000 patients will be recruited for more than 60 tests that include treatments including radiotherapy, high-intensity focussed ultrasound and cryotherapy as well as supportive interventions such as exercise and dietary advice.

Read the full article.