UK Prostate cancer deaths could be halved within 10 years if more funding was available thanks to breakthroughs in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease, according to the charity Prostate Cancer UK.
Prostate cancer is currently the most common cancer in British men, accounting for around 25 per cent of all cancer diagnoses.
The charity says that although deaths from the disease are expected to soar over the next 10 years due to the increasing number of people living longer, extra funding for research could reduce the number of deaths each year in Britain.
Prostate Cancer UK have unveiled a new 10-year strategy to cut the 14,500 men expected to die from the disease in 2026 to less than the current annual figure of 10,900. At present, more than 25,000 new cases are diagnosed every year, resulting in one death every hour.
According to the charity, 44,000 men will be diagnosed over the next 12 months. But based on current trends, research predicts a 30 per cent yearly increase in this number by 2026.
The number of men living with the disease post-diagnosis is due to double to 620,000 by 2030 when prostate cancer is set to become the most prevalent overall cancer in the UK.
Prostate Cancer UK’s 10-year plan to cut deaths aims to focus on the three key areas of diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
Currently it isn’t possible to identify whether any prostate cancer found at the point of diagnosis needs urgent treatment or can be left alone. The charity says there is a problem with misdiagnosis and urgent funding is needed to help the team of researchers they have assembled to develop a new risk prediction tool that only diagnoses aggressive prostate cancers requiring immediate treatment.
According to the charity, the tool will revolutionise diagnosis and should be available for GPs within the next five years.
It will allow doctors to input information on a patient’s age, ethnicity, PSA level and family history in order to receive an indication of their own individual risk of prostate cancer. Not only should it help increase the number of men whose aggressive prostate cancer is identified before it spreads outside the prostate, it is also hoped that it will prevent so many people from undergoing unnecessary biopsies or treatment for harmless prostate cancers.
Prostate Cancer UK’s Chief Executive, Angela Culhane, said: “This is the endgame. We’re on the brink of the scientific breakthroughs necessary to stop this disease in its tracks so that by 2026 it won’t pose the threat it does today.”
The Slater and Gordon medical negligence team regularly deal with cases involving delayed or misdiagnosis of cancer, and we often see first-hand just how devastating errors or late diagnosis can be in terms of affecting recovery prospects.
Early detection and treatment of cancer is key as delays in identifying the disease can mean the subsequent treatment patients need is far more extensive than it would have been had their cancer been diagnosed earlier.
Unfortunately for many patients, late diagnosis will often mean effective treatment is no longer possible.
The Slater and Gordon clinical negligence team are widely experienced in handling claims related to delayed diagnosis and misdiagnosed cancer. For a free consultation call our medical negligence solicitors on freephone 0800 916 9049 or contact us online.