Postcode lottery in prostate cancer treatment
Men with prostate cancer are five times more likely to die in some parts of the country than others, highlighting a “postcode lottery” in NHS care, campaigners claim.Experts warned that inequalities in care across the country were “getting worse”.
The disease is one of the most common forms of cancer in men. About 35,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in Britain every year and about 10,000 die from the disease.
Figures show that men diagnosed with the condition in south east Cambridgeshire are almost five times less likely to die from the disease than those in Tottenham, north London.
The statistics, collated by the Prostate Cancer Charter for Action, also show that 96 of England’s 529 parliamentary constituencies have a death rate 25 per cent higher than the England average.
The figures show that in Tottenham, 57 men per 100,000 died from the disease, 131 per cent higher than the national average.
In south east Cambridgeshire the figure was 12 per 100,000.
An earlier report found that areas of the country which had failed to implement NHS guidelines on improving care had a mortality rate 4 per cent higher than those areas were the guidance had been taken up.
Dr Frank Chinegwundoh, a consultant urologist, said: “It is not enough that prostate cancer services are improving as a whole, if patients face such a lottery in the care they receive.”
“We need better services for all patients across the country, not just a lucky few.”
David Smith, of the Prostate Cancer Support Federation, said: “All men with prostate cancer should benefit from better services, yet these figures suggest that the inequalities in prostate cancer are getting worse.
“There can be no excuse for services in some areas of the country to be performing so much worse than in others.
“This situation cannot be allowed to continue.”
Mark Simmonds, the Tory shadow health minister, said: “We have been warning for some time about the inequalities in access to treatment for cancer.
“We want an NHS focused around the needs or patients and the outcomes they want to see.
“And the way funding is allocated to local NHS organisations needs to reflect the burden of disease across the country better.”
Professor Mike Richards, the NHS’s national clinical director for cancer, said: “The Department of Health recognises the importance of implementing the Improving Outcomes Guidance published by NICE and we have asked Strategic Health Authorities to submit action plans to demonstrate how they will implement this.
“Raising the public awareness of prostate cancer is one of the key challenges for the future. We want men to know what their prostate is, what it does, and what can go wrong with it and we are tackling this through the National Awareness and Early Detection Initiative.
“Also for the first time, as a result of the work of the Prostate Cancer Advisory Group, we now have a definitive set of consistent key messages for the general public about the prostate, including prostate cancer. These clear messages provide men and their families with information about the prostate that they need to be aware of and are designed in such a way as not to cause unnecessary anxiety.”
Tags: Cancer, cancer drugs, cancer survival, Killer Quango, NHS Deaths, NICE, NICE blight, postcode lottery, preventable crisis, prostate cancer