Vast variation in quality of prostate cancer care revealed across England

New analysis unveiled today has uncovered vast variations in the care that men with prostate cancer receive across the whole of England. They reveal that many men in the West Midlands and Essex are receiving poor prostate cancer care and support whilst the majority of men living in Greater Manchester are getting what they need.

The new analysis released today - 13 March 2013 - maps for the first time the outlook for men with prostate cancer in England according to where they live, in terms of both experience of care and treatment outcomes. The evidence further highlights that, despite recent improvements, the disease lags behind the treatment of other common cancers in key areas such as availability of Specialist Nurses, provision of information and support. The paper outlines findings which are in line with mounting evidence that there are severe inequalities in the care men with the disease receive across the UK.

Key findings:

  • Three Counties and Arden Cancer Networks come bottom of the league table in terms of men's experience of care and also have some of the highest mortality rates, whilst Greater Manchester & Cheshire Cancer Network comes top in terms of treatment and has one of the lowest mortality rates.
  • Less than three quarters of men in some Cancer Networks are given basic information about the purpose of tests or given crucial choices about which treatment to have, compared to almost all men receiving this support  in other networks.
  • Only 4 in 10 men in some Cancer Networks find it easy to get in touch with their specialist nurse. However, in other Cancer Networks more than 8 in 10 men find it easy to do so.

Today a team of people affected by prostate cancer will descend on Westminster to urge MPs to take action against this England-wide injustice without further delay. As a key step in the road to better care for men they will be calling on MPs to work with their local health authorities to fully adopt Prostate Cancer UK's new Quality Checklist - a best practice guide for men and clinicians which shows the care and support men with prostate cancer should except to receive at every step of their journey.

Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of Prostate Cancer UK said: "It is an outrage that men face a postcode lottery in the care and support they need to navigate the minefield that is the prostate cancer treatment journey. There are over 215,000 men living with the disease in England and this number is set to rise at an alarming rate. To help combat this, it is vital that every man has access to world class information, care and support they need and deserve - no matter where they live."

Sharp continued: "In an bid to help stamp out inequalities faced by men with prostate cancer in the UK, our Quality Checklist list aims to address the problem by setting out 15 national standards for support and care.

"We urgently call upon health care providers and commissioners across England, and particularly in the regions with the worst performing networks, to take the first step to reversing this injustice by ensuring that our checklist is adopted and implemented urgently.

"Every man in this country should expect their care to be the very best, and we are determined to ensure that's exactly what they get."