Two news streams came out tin the media his week which, taken together, paint a very serious picture for men in the UK at risk of prostate cancer.
The first presented new data that show Prostate Cancer to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK, surpassing breast, lung and all other cancers in its incidence.
The second revealed the changes within NHS hospitals generated by Covid-19 and the implications for care going forward, citing resource constraints and new protocols which are doubling waiting lists by the end of the summer.
Individually these stories are impactful; taken together they are cause for great concern as more men are delayed diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer.
It is well understood that men diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early stage have a high likelihood of survival and, with continually improving and more accurate diagnostics, this is increasing all the time. The worry in this new environment is that many prostate cancers won’t be caught early as the diagnostic process is slowed down through backlogs of delayed patients and new post-Covid protocols which slow down the process of moving along the diagnostic pathway for prostate cancer.
In terms of treatment, long wait lists are likely to favour men with more advanced stages of prostate cancer, meaning that men with early-stage cancers are delayed yet again in their treatment. This could result in cancers advancing and requiring more radical treatments, with negative implications for patients and the NHS as a whole.
We will be watching developments closely. In the meantime, we continue to reach out to men with early stage prostate cancer and offer advice, support and non-invasive treatment.
Further details on these developments can be found on the Prostate Cancer UK and Nuffield Trust websites.