Prostate Cancer Awareness & Screening
With Coronavirus swirling about us, all of a sudden there is an opportunity forced upon us to stop and think about what CHAPS has been doing and what the charity should be doing when this crisis abates.
Over the last few years CHAPS has continued to stage men’s health events across Essex and Suffolk, screening particularly for undiagnosed heart disease, diabetes, aortic aneurysms, skin cancer and prostate cancer (PCa). We always detect unsuspected disease and our efforts are much appreciated by our attendees. CHAPS could of course carry on exactly the same once things return to normal but would this still represent the best use of our resources? We think not.
The area of clinical activity that has increased most for the charity has been screening for prostate cancer. This increase has been seen by other charities working in the same field and most likely reflects publicity given to stars such as Messrs Fry, Turnbull, and Stewart reporting their personal experiences, together with reports on the increasing prevalence of the disease – over 12,000 UK PCa deaths per year which now exceeds deaths from breast cancer. Consequently we are running bespoke PCa screening events for an increasing number of organisations such as the Freemasons, Rotary and the Lions as well as major commercial infrastructure companies right across the UK.
Whilst increased publicity is certainly helpful, there remains an alarming lack of knowledge amongst many, if not most, UK men about their prostate gland in general and awareness of PCa in particular. This is compounded by lack of a medical consensus on screening and only patchy provision of the simple PSA screening blood test by GPs.
In many other western counties evidence built up over the last 30 years is now clearly demonstrating the benefit of properly organised PCa screening programmes that can halve a man’s risk of dying from this most unpleasant cancer. A consensus of international experts recommends that all men should start screening with PSA in their 40s especially men at high risk. These are:
• Men in their 40s with an initial PSA >1.0ng/ml or in their 50’s with a PSA > 2.0ng/ml.
• Black men or mixed race men of African or Caribbean descent who carry a one in four lifetime risk of developing PCa.
• Men with a family history of PCa or breast cancer on the mother’s side where the risk rises rapidly with every affected family member.
Remember, the NHS’s Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme entitles men over 50 to a PSA test. All GPs have been sent the programme so don’t be put off; it is your entitlement. Early detection of PCa leads almost always to cure whereas late detection once the cancer has spread ends eventually in death. Currently 51 percent of UK men diagnosed with PCa are diagnosed with advanced disease and in nearly one in five it has already spread widely to other parts of the body.
The future role of CHAPS Charity will be determined by where we judge the greatest need to be. At present it is to achieve a substantial reduction in our unacceptable death rate from prostate cancer.
Whilst future screening events are postponed due to Coronavirus, keep in touch via our website or contact us directly by email to [email protected] or phone 07873 541505, particularly if you would like more information on prostate cancer.
For more information visit www.chaps.uk.com.