Prostate Cancer

Health written question – answered on 11th June 2014.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) what representations he has received from (a) research bodies and academics, (b) non-governmental organisations and (c) people at high risk for prostate cancer and prostate cancer patients about accessibility of early prostate cancer screenings;

(2) what steps his Department has taken to increase awareness of early screenings for prostate cancer for men at risk.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme (PCRMP) Scientific Reference Group (SRG) keeps the evidence on prostate cancer screening under review, and has not yet seen compelling evidence that screening should be offered to high risk groups.

The PCRMP is in place to ensure that men over 50 without symptoms of prostate cancer can have a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test free on the national health service after careful consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of the test and after a discussion with a general practitioner.

The patient information sheets on PSA testing make it clear that the risk of prostate cancer is greater for men with a familial history of prostate cancer and black-African and black-Caribbean men.

The National Cancer Action Team (NCAT) previously highlighted the increased risk of prostate cancer in black men through the ‘Cancer Does Not Discriminate’ campaign, including distributing over 200,000 health supplements and an editorial in The Voice newspaper.

In 2011, the Department, NCAT, North East London Cancer Network and Prostate Cancer UK worked with NHS Newham and Barts Health Care Trust to pilot the Newham Prostate Health Drop-in Clinic at the Newham African-Caribbean Resource Centre. 322 men had a consultation at the clinic, 59 were referred to secondary care and nine new diagnoses of early stage prostate cancer were made.

The learning gained from a formal evaluation of the pilot was shared widely with stakeholders within London and across England, including NHS England. The pilot won the 2013 Civil Service Diversity and Equality Award for Understanding and Engaging with Communities.

The Department is represented on the multi-disciplinary PCRMP SRG and the Prostate Cancer Advisory Group, along with representatives from clinicians, professional bodies, academics, the voluntary sector and patient groups.

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