Calls for improvements following audit of prostate cancer services
The quality of treatment and care for prostate cancer, the most common form of cancer in men, varies ‘worryingly’ according to the National Prostate Cancer Audit’s (NPCA) first report into prostate cancer services offered across the UK.
The report revealed that only half of the hospitals in England provided support services to help patients manage side-effects, yet four out of five hospitals were able to offer the most advanced radiotherapy.
The audit, which reviewed hospitals across England and Wales, is the first of its kind and will be carried out for at least the next five years to help monitor how men with prostate cancer are treated.
The report recommends that diagnostic multiparametric MRI scans, an advanced and less invasive method of diagnosing prostate cancer, should be more widely available to help reduce the risk of delays in diagnosis or misdiagnosis. Likewise, it recommends that high-dose brachytherapy, a type of internal radiotherapy for advanced prostate cancer patients, which is currently available in just 20% of centres in England, should be available in all cancer hospitals.
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men. Figures from Cancer Research show that there are around 41,000 cases of prostate cancer, and almost 11,000 deaths every year.
Owen Sharp, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK has called for services to be improved ‘without delay’ in response to the audit.
Kiran Jalota, senior clinical negligence solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors’ Birmingham office said: “Prostate cancer affects the lives of tens of thousands of men, and it is vital that the findings of this report are not ignored.
“It is unacceptable that many hospitals are not using the latest diagnosis and treatment methods which can prove integral to a patient’s prognosis.
“While this may be the first audit of its kind, it has exposed an inequality of care where some hospitals lack diagnostic equipment or basic support services, while others benefit from the most advanced technology available. It is vital that the government acknowledges the disparity across prostate cancer services and acts urgently to ensure that all patients have access to the best possible cancer services.”
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