Vale of Clwyd MP Dr James Davies has welcomed the announcement of a major new prostate cancer screening trial that could save thousands of men’s lives.
Backed by £42 million of funding from the Government and Prostate Cancer UK, the trial will use innovative screening methods such as MRI to detect prostate cancer, and it will see hundreds of thousands of men across the country, including from North Wales, participating.
“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK and currently has no screening programme. It usually brings no symptoms until it has progressed, when it may be more difficult to treat and, sadly, 12,000 men die of it every single year.
“A way of effectively screening for prostate cancer could identify these men before their cancer spreads, and save their lives. The trial has the potential to validate new screening methods which provide more accurate results than the current blood tests. These can miss some cancers and often suggest prostate cancer when no cancer exists. Crucially, screening could also spot the disease when no symptoms are displayed.”
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Victoria Atkins said:
“Cancer survival rates continue to improve in the UK, with the disease being diagnosed at an earlier stage more often. But more must be done.
“Our hope is that this funding will help to save the lives of thousands more men through advanced screening methods that can catch prostate cancer as early as possible.
“Alongside this, we are supporting more men to access important heart and circulatory health checks in their workplace to help prevent issues like heart disease and stroke.”
Laura Kerby, Chief Executive at Prostate Cancer UK, said:
“12,000 men die of prostate cancer each year and it’s the most common cancer that doesn’t have a national screening programme.
“It’s about time that changed. That’s why we’re launching our biggest and most ambitious trial ever. It will finally give us the answers we need to develop a routine testing system and save thousands of men each year.
“Prostate Cancer UK's unique focus and expertise made us the only organisation that could really deliver this paradigm-shifting trial, and we’re delighted that the Government has backed our vision to revolutionise diagnosis.”
1 in 4 Black men will develop prostate cancer – double the risk of other men. Therefore, to ensure the trial helps reduce their risk of dying from this disease, 1 in 10 men invited to participate will be Black men. Participating men in the screening trial will be aged 50-75, with Black men eligible from the lower age range of 45-75.
Men at higher risk of prostate cancer due to age and ethnicity will be recruited through their GP practice and invited to a screening visit.
More than 52,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the UK on average – that’s 144 men every day. Around 490,000 men are currently living with and after prostate cancer.
The trial is due to start in Spring 2024 with recruitment likely to begin in Autumn 2024.