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Learning Disability: Prostate Cancer

Volume 501: debated on Tuesday 24 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the prostate cancer screening programme is accessible for men with a learning disability; and if he will make a statement. (301415)

There is currently no national screening programme for prostate cancer. However, in March 2009, we announced that the UK National Screening Committee will review new evidence surrounding screening for prostate cancer. The Committee is due to report back to Ministers during 2010.

In 2002, as part of the Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme (PCRMP), a pack of materials was produced for use in primary care to help men make an informed choice about having a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. If a man wants a PSA test after consultation with his general practitioner (GP) and consideration of the information leaflet included for men, he may have one free on the national health service.

The PCRMP packs have been formally evaluated and revised packs were issued to GPs in August 2009. The PCRMP Scientific Reference Group discussed whether separate materials should be produced for men with a learning disability. They concluded that as the programme was aimed at men with no symptoms of prostate cancer, was not a population screening programme, and the patient leaflet was an aide memoire following a consultation with a primary care practitioner, it would not be appropriate to produce such materials. The primary care team should use their best clinical judgment in explaining the materials for men with a learning disability who are aware of the programme or whose carers are aware of the programme, especially if the individual is at a higher risk of prostate cancer if, for example, his brother has had prostate cancer.