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Prostate Cancer

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress he has made in implementing the NHS Prostate Cancer Programme of 2000. [126991]

Good progress has been made since the national health service prostate cancer programme was launched on 6 September 2000, setting out the Government's approach to improving prostate cancer services in England and Wales.As part of the prostate cancer risk management programme (PCRMP), evidence-based primary care resource packs were sent to all general practitioners in England from 23 September 2002 to aid them in counselling men who are worried about prostate cancer, ensuring the men make an informed choice about whether or not to have a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test.Other elements of the PCRMP include ensuring that a systematic and standardised follow-up pathway is available for individuals whose test result is above the PSA threshold and action to improve the quality of laboratory testing of PSA samples. Primary care and laboratories were informed of the related recommendations from the scientific reference group, which supports the PCRMP in September 2002.By 2003–04 the Department of Health will be directly funding £4.2 million of research a year on prostate cancer. This is a twenty-fold increase compared with 1999–2000. Two National Cancer Research Institute prostate cancer research collaborative have been established in Newcastle and London. Funded research includes studies on various treatments for prostate cancer, improving the PSA test and ethnic differences in prostate cancer incidence. The National Cancer Research Institute considered prostate cancer as part of its Strategic Analysis in 2002, but made no specific recommendations.The Department is; funding a Section 64 grant to the Prostate Cancer Charity to increase availability of further information about prostate cancer. This is supporting the creation, review, provision and dissemination of a range of awareness material, supported by £135,000 over three years. 96.6 per cent, of patients with suspected urological cancers (including prostate) were seen for their first out-patient appointment within two weeks of their general practitioner deciding they should be urgently referred, and the hospital receiving the referral within 24 hours, in January to March 2003.

The cancer services collaborative is modernising cancer care, including prostate cancer, by reducing unnecessary delays in the system for patients throughout the cancer journey.

The number of consultant urologists grew from 382 in 2000 to 427 in 2001, and is set to grow to 504 in 2005.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans the Government has to introduce a public awareness campaign for prostate cancer. [126992]

Under the National Health Service Prostate Cancer Programme we have launched a number of initiatives to increase the public awareness of prostate cancer.The Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme was launched in July 2001 to educate the public, patients and professionals on the risks associated with individual testing for prostate cancer. To aid this evidence based primary care packs have been produced and have been distributed to all general practitioners in England.We are also providing funding to the Prostate Cancer Charity to increase the available amount of information about prostate cancer. This funding supports the creation, review, provision and dissemination of a range of awareness material on prostate cancer.We have also set up the Prostate Cancer Advisory Group to facilitate collaboration between the Department of Health, voluntary groups and patient and professional groups in all areas of prostate cancer, including awareness. The group met for the first time recently and decided that a sub-group would be formed to take forward the issue of public awareness.