Second Rate Care for Prostate Patients?

Men with prostate cancer struggle to gain access to specialist NHS nurses and are often denied the latest and best drug treatments, a report has warned.

They receive less help with controlling pain and an overall lower standard of care than patients with other major cancers, the study concluded.

It also found that only a third of prostate cancer patients had discussed the possibility of taking part in clinical trials -despite the availability of newer and potentially more effective drugs.

At the launch of the report by the male cancer charity Orchid, Paul Burstow, a former Liberal Democrat health minister, said this was a form of "discrimination" against men who should not have to put up with "second-rate services".

Currently there are only 280 clinical nurse specialists to care for all men with urological cancers in England. This needs to rise to 400 to match the numbers for women with breast cancer, a spokesman for the charity said.

Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer in England. An estimated one in eight men will develop it and around 10,800 men died from prostate cancer in England in 2012.

More than 41,000 new cases are diagnosed every year compared with around 50,000 men and women diagnosed with breast cancer.

The report said that the role of clinical nurse specialistswas at risk because of financial pressures - but the Government had shown "little appetite to investigate". In terms of drugs, the report said even those already approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), such as Docetaxel and Aliraterone, were not "made available across the NHS in an equitable manner".

Applications for cancer treatment to NHS England's Cancer Drugs Fund - which provides funding for treatments rejected or not yet approved by NICE - are "consistently high".

By Rebecca Smith

Daily Telegraph

Wednesday October 1 2014