Living with and beyond Prostate Cancer: Does more investigation result in better health? A study of the impact on men of increased and variable investigation and treatment of prostate cancer in the island of Ireland.

University of BelfastDr Anna Gavin£299,6482010 - 2013

Why we funded it

A major unanswered question in prostate cancer research is whether more intensive approaches to prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment actually improve men's health overall.  This is because many prostate cancers are slow-growing forms that would not have caused a man any symptoms during his natural lifetime, but we cannot yet distinguish between these and aggressive tumours that require urgent treatment.

This project will compare the cases of men living on the island of Ireland who receive a different approach to screening and treatment based ont he geographical area they live in. This will help provide some vital answers as to which approach has the best outcome for men.

Scientific title

Living with and beyond Prostate Cancer: Does more investigation result in better health? A study of the impact on men of increased and variable investigation and treatment of prostate cancer in the island of Ireland.

Research project summary

This project will exploit a unique data set from the cancer registries of two geographical areas - Northern Ireland (NI) and the Republic of Ireland (ROI) - where men are investigated and treated differently for prostate cancer.  PSA and biopsy rates are higher in the ROI resulting in prostate cancer diagnosis rates that are 34% higher than NI.  Men in ROI are more likely to receive radiotherapy or surgery and less likely to receive hormone therapy than men in NI.  This study will look at the effect these differences have on the long term outcomes and quality of life of men who are investigated for prostate cancer in these two countries.

The researchers will first look at the effect of prostate biopsy on overall wellbeing, both for men who are and men who are not diagnosed with prostate cancer as a result.  They will also measure emotional wellbeing and physical side effects in men who were treated for prostate cancer 1, 5 and 10 years ago.  This project will provide important information about the wider and long-term consequences of prostate cancer investigation and treatment.  It will also highlight men's long term needs for supportive care services and add to the debate about prostate cancer screening.