While only 16 per cent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will die within 10 years of diagnosis compared to 76 per cent in the 1970s, more remains to be done. Raising awareness of the importance of early diagnosis of prostate cancer is key to driving up survival rates still further particularly for high-risk men such as those with a family history of prostate cancer and black men. That is why I am glad that the Government ran a Be Clear on Cancer campaign to raise awareness of the increased risk of prostate cancer in black men.
The NHS Long Term Plan sets commitments regarding screening for cancer. For example, Rapid Diagnosis Centres are being established to enable diagnosis on the same day as testing. There are currently eleven urology or prostate Rapid Diagnostic Centres pathways operational or in development, some of which cover multiple hospital sites.
New research is also vital to improving outcomes for those diagnosed with cancer. £75 million was announced in April 2018 to fund specific research into prostate cancer over the following five years. This is supporting over 40,000 men to participate in more than 60 prostate cancer studies, testing treatments including more precise radiotherapy, high-intensity focused ultrasound, and cryotherapy.
Moreover, I warmly welcome news that enzalutamide has been recommended as an option for treating men with certain types of prostate cancer in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which will be particularly beneficial for those who cannot have chemotherapy. The drug works by blocking testosterone from reaching the prostate cancer cells and is designed to slow down the growth of cancer cells and help control advanced prostate cancer and can be taken at home. I know that is an important milestone for treatment of advanced prostate cancer, and I agree with Professor Peter Jackson that work throughout the pandemic to offer people with cancer treatment options that are not only effective but safer and more convenient has helped to deliver a positive legacy of treatments like enzalutamide. For more information, you can visit the Macmillan website here:
Finally, since 2016, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended Abiraterone in combination with prednisone or prednisolone as an option for treating metastatic hormone-relapsed prostate cancer in people who have no or mild symptoms after androgen deprivation therapy has failed and before chemotherapy is indicated. Abiraterone is currently deemed suitable for some patients only, with factors including whether the patient has had chemotherapy and how he has responded to other drugs. Sometimes clinicians will use alternative hormone therapies before or instead of Abiraterone. I understand NICE is actively considering the possibility of using Abiraterone more widely in England & Wales. If you would like more information about this medicine, you can visit the Prostate Cancer UK website here: