09/11/2004

Report highlights successful fight against prostate cancer

Men with prostate cancer are being seen more quickly and receiving better care according to a new report out today.

The report sets out progress made following the publication of the NHS Prostate Cancer programme four years ago. The programme was the first of its kind and aimed to focus attention on the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in England and the second biggest cancer killer in men.

According to the report over 98% of patients with suspected prostate cancer are now seen by a consultant within two weeks of being urgently referred by their GP – compared to 40% in 1997. And the number of consultant urologists has increased by 40% - there are now 503 consultants compared to 343 in 1997

Prostate cancer is the only cancer with a government spending target for research - the target of £4.2 million was reached in 2003/04.

Speaking at the National Prostate Cancer Conference, Health Minister Lord Warner said: "Making sure patients have access to the latest treatments is key to reducing the suffering caused by this condition - that is why prostate cancer is the only cancer to have a specific target for government spending on research. This will help to ensure that patients get the benefit of pioneering new techniques like high intensity focused ultrasound for which clinical trials are due to begin early next year."

Speaking on behalf of the Prostate Cancer Charter for Action, Dr Chris Parker said that as prostate cancer remains a big killer "it is right we continue to make tackling prostate cancer our priority".

"Although there has been encouraging progress on tackling prostate cancer there is still a lot to do," he added.

(gmcg/mb)

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