Promising Developments in Prostate Cancer Care.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with more than 52,000 men being diagnosed annually. This equates to 144 men every day.

There is much research in this area and two new studies are hoping to turn the tide on both the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.

Firstly, a joint study by the Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust has developed saliva testing to identify those who may be at a higher risk of developing the disease. There is currently no national screening programme for prostate cancer in the UK because blood tests alone are not considered to be accurate enough in picking up aggressive types of the disease. Preliminary results from the study showed that the saliva test produced fewer false positives and picked up a higher proportion of aggressive cancers.

The saliva test works by analysing DNA and looking at combinations of genetic factors attributed to prostate cancer. From a patient’s point of view, the test is as simple as sending a sample of saliva off to be tested. Currently, men who wish to be tested for prostate cancer need to see their GP for a physical examination and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. However, a raised PSA level does not necessarily indicate prostate cancer and only 25% of men with raised levels will, in fact, have cancer. This means that many men are having to go through further testing unnecessarily - whether an MRI scan and/ or an invasive biopsy. This potentially ground-breaking research could revolutionise and streamline prostate cancer screening.

For those men who have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer, a study by scientists at University of Oxford have developed a special type of dye to allow surgeons to locate and remove prostate cancer cells during surgery. The fluorescent dye works by attaching itself to a protein which is only present in cancer cells. Removing all cancer cells is vital in cutting the risk of recurrence. Whilst this study is currently in its infancy and as yet has only been trialled on 23 men, surgeons reported that it helped them locate areas of cancerous tissue that were not picked up by the naked eye or by other diagnostic means. A larger trial has now been planned and is being supported and funded by Cancer Research UK. Cancer Research UK are hopeful that if the trials go well, the technology could be adapted to use in other cancers too.

Survival rates for prostate cancer are considered to be good, particularly when diagnosed early. Whilst there are no UK wide statistics, Cancer Research UK note that almost 80% of men with prostate cancer in England will survive their cancer for 10 years or more.

If you are experiencing any of the below symptoms, it is important that you seek advice from your GP. These symptoms do not always mean that you have prostate cancer, but should warrant further investigation.

  • needing to pee more frequently, often during the night
  • needing to rush to the toilet
  • difficulty in starting to pee (hesitancy)
  • straining or taking a long time while peeing
  • weak flow
  • feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully
  • blood in urine or blood in semen

You can find further information regarding prostate cancer via the Prostate Cancer UK website,, or Cancer Research UK

If you, or a loved one have been affected by prostate cancer, please contact a member of team in confidence to discuss whether you may have a claim for compensation.

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