Significant Variations In Prostate Cancer Care Highlighted

First National Prostate Cancer Audit Highlights Variations In Care

10.11.2014

The first ever National Prostate Cancer Audit has highlighted significant variations in the care men suffering from the condition in different parts of the UK receive.

Today (Monday November 10th) has seen the publication of this inaugural report, which has led officials to call for improvements to be made to care standards for the disease at medical facilities throughout Britain.

Figures show that around 40,000 men are diagnosed with the disease each year, with approximately 10,000 cases proving fatal annually.

Despite this, today's report shows only half of the hospitals in England and Wales offer specific support to males who may be suffering side effects due to treatment for prostate cancer. For instance, men may be seeking advice on sexual function following recovery and might require psychological counselling to help them to come to terms with their illness.

However, the audit discovered that four out of five hospitals did have the most advanced radiotherapy available for patients, providing reassurances that there is good quality care out there.

In addition, it was found that only 20 per cent of treatment centres in England offered high-dose brachytherapy for men with an advanced form of the condition, while MRI scans for diagnosis were available in just two-thirds of such facilities in Wales and three-quarters of those in England.

Overall, only half of English centres provided all of the care and support services prostate cancer sufferers may need, but this figure increased to 60 per cent in Wales.

Speaking to the Times, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK Owen Sharp commented: "Although there have been some improvements in access to the more sophisticated diagnosis and treatment techniques, the audit reveals a worryingly vast variation in availability of these options and that around half of men with prostate cancer do not receive all the support services they should. Such findings cannot be ignored."

The National Prostate Cancer Audit aims to bring about improvements to care quality and standards for the condition through the creation of a database detailing patient and clinical information. It is set to run for at least the next five years.

If you have suffered due to misdiagnosed prostate cancer or a delayed prostate cancer diagnosis, our medical negligence lawyers could help you claim compensation. Call 0808 163 4557 for a free initial consultation or see our Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims page for more details.

Expert Opinion
The fact that prostate cancer care varies so widely across the UK is extremely concerning. A lack of help and support for patients undergoing treatment for the disease is also worrying and it is vital improvements are made to ensure those suffering with prostate cancer are given the best care possible.

“All too often patients diagnosed with cancer face long delays to access treatment, which is completely unacceptable, as early diagnosis and treatment plays a pivotal role in improving the chances of survival for many types of cancer.

“It is vital that patient care is a top priority for the NHS, which means ensuring those diagnosed with cancer receive the appropriate care they need, including dedicated prostate cancer support networks. Through our work we have seen the devastating impact waiting for long periods for treatment can have on the chances of survival and recovery of patients and it is imperative that those diagnosed with cancer receive the best possible care available to them.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner