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Cancer Treatment

Volume 453: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what targets his Department has set for survival rates for cancer patients. (103362)

The current target set by the Department of Health and Social Services for cancer survival is that the Health and Personal Social Services should seek to increase five year survival rates for the main cancers including breast, colo-rectal and lung (excluding non melanoma skin cancers) by 5 per cent. by 2010.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to ensure that cancer patients in the Province receive the professional support and care they require. (103363)

On 9 November the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety published a Cancer Control Programme for Northern Ireland. This plan which represents the first element of an over-arching regional framework for cancer services will in the future be supplemented by detailed, transparent standards and targets for the delivery of that care. Those standards and targets will be developed in partnership with the HPSS and the Northern Ireland Cancer Network and will address the standards of professional support and care required by cancer patients.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to reduce the inequalities in cancer rates among different social classes in the Province. (103364)

One of the key aims of the recently published Cancer Control Programme for Northern Ireland is to ensure that cancer services are provided to everyone who has need of them on an equitable basis. The Cancer Control Programme recommends that commissioners, service planners and relevant agencies should take full account of the report findings regarding cancer inequalities in the planning and development of regional and local cancer services and prevention strategies.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what consideration has been given to producing a comprehensive cancer plan for Northern Ireland with targets for services and specific allocated funding. (103425)

The first comprehensive report on cancer services in Northern Ireland, “Cancer Services—Investing for the Future” was published in 1996. On 9 November the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety published a new Cancer Control Programme for Northern Ireland. This important document sets out recommendations and actions for the further strengthening of cancer services and the setting of standards for the delivery of those services. It is a vital step in the development of a comprehensive regional framework for cancer services in the Province and represents the first element of an over-arching regional framework for cancer services. It will in the future be supplemented by detailed, transparent standards and targets for the delivery of cancer care.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether docetaxel is available in the Province for the treatment of prostate cancer. (103426)

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued guidance on the use of docetaxel in the treatment of hormone refractory prostate cancer in June which recommended this drug as a treatment option.

The use of docetaxel is very much part of our current strategy for the management of this group of patients. Health and social services boards have allocated £195,000 recurrently for the introduction of this new treatment in Northern Ireland and a number of patients have commenced treatment with docetaxel in recent months.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what treatments for prostate cancer are available on the NHS in the Province. (103427)

There are a wide range of drug and surgical treatments available to treat prostate cancer in Northern Ireland. These include: active monitoring, hormone therapy, radiotherapy, surgery, cryosurgery and chemotherapy which may include the use of docetaxel. Treatment is always commensurate with the age, general health and stage of the disease evident with each patient and takes account of their treatment preference.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many patients have (a) been diagnosed with and (b) died from prostate cancer in the Province in each of the last 20 years. (103428)

The information requested is as follows:

(a) The table below details information on the incidence of prostate cancer (ICD-10C61) in Northern Ireland since 1993. Information is not available prior to 1993.

Table 1: Prostate cancer incidence in Northern Ireland, 1993-2004

Number

1993

474

1994

484

1995

511

1996

456

1997

491

1998

497

1999

494

2000

576

2001

554

2002

652

2003

739

2004

757

Notes: 1. Incidence refers to the number of new cases of a cancer diagnosed in Northern Ireland for a particular period. 2. Incidence of prostate cancer are identified using version 10 of the international classification of diseases and related health problems (ICD10). The code for prostate cancer is C61.

This information has been provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry and is the most up-to-date currently available.

(b) Table 2 gives the number of deaths due to prostate cancer registered in Northern Ireland over the last 20 years.

Table 2: Deaths in Northern Ireland due to prostate cancer1

Registration year

Number

1986

126

1987

163

1988

159

1989

159

1990

195

1991

175

1992

201

1993

182

1994

209

1995

216

1996

211

1997

208

1998

220

1999

195

2000

213

2001

214

2002

193

2003

217

2004

241

20052

222

1 International Classification of Diseases. Tenth Revision codes C61 for years 2001-2005 and Ninth Revision code 185 for years 1986-2000. 2 Provisional.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the number of people in the Province with prostate cancer who may be suitable for treatment with docetaxel. (103429)

An assessment of the potential demand for docetaxel in the treatment of hormone refractory prostate cancer was conducted by the Oncology and Haematology Drugs and Therapeutics Committee at Belfast City Hospital earlier this year. It is estimated that annually between 50 and 60 patients in Northern Ireland will be suitable for treatment with this drug. Health and social services boards have agreed recurrent funding of £195,000 to meet the costs of introducing docetaxel for the treatment of prostate cancer.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people in Northern Ireland are diagnosed as having prostate cancer. (103430)

There were 6,685 men diagnosed in Northern Ireland with prostate cancer between the start of 1993 and the end of 2004. At the end of 2004 3,435 of these cancer patients were still alive.

This figure may represent an undercount of the actual number of people living with prostate cancer as those diagnosed prior to 1993 or after 2004 are not included. Additionally incidence of prostate cancer are increasing, mainly due to the increased use of PS A testing. This may indicate an undercount in incidence of prostate cancer prior to 1999 and thus a further undercount in prevalence figures.

This information has been provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry and is the most up to date currently available.