UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May has announced plans to fight prostate cancer with additional funding and research efforts.
May’s announcement was made while visiting a Cambridgeshire hospital for a National Health Service (NHS) meeting, the first in a series of discussions as the government works to develop a long-term plan for the NHS, which is observing its 70th anniversary.
The prime minister laid out the government’s long-term plans to help men in the U.K. access treatment for prostate cancer earlier and faster. May said that more than 40,000 men would be recruited into more than 60 new prostate cancer studies over the next five years thanks to a £75 million (almost $107 million U.S.) investment in new research for early diagnosis and treatment.
The new studies will target population groups at particularly higher risk, such as black men. (Estimates point to one in four black men developing the disease at some point in their lives.) Additionally, men 50 years and older, and those with a family history of prostate cancer, also will be enrolled in these studies.
Treatments tested in these studies will include radiotherapy, high-intensity focused ultrasound, cryotherapy, and other therapies such as exercise and dietary advice. These new efforts come as “one-stop cancer shops” that are being led in 10 areas to detect cancer early and speed up diagnosis, particularly for those who have less obvious symptoms.
“Too many people endure the loss of a loved one because cancer diagnosis comes too late in the day. Our cancer treatments are world class and survival rates are at a record high, but prostate cancer still claims thousands of lives every year. I know we can do more. That’s why I am setting out new plans to help thousands of men get treated earlier and faster,” May said ahead of the visit, according to a press release.
“Now in its 70th year, our NHS has a bright future — since last November, we have already committed £10 billion ($14.2 billion) in new funding, including a new pay deal for one million NHS workers. In fact, as part of our balanced approach to managing the economy we have increased spending on the health service every year since 2010. But I’m clear the way to secure the NHS’s future is having a long-term plan, with sustainable multi-year funding,” May said. “To inform this, I’ll be meeting doctors, nurses and other NHS staff today to understand the challenges they face and discuss how we can effectively meet the demands of the future.”
“The plans … will refocus our efforts to develop new treatments and will give men with prostate cancer, and their families, hope of survival. The NHS is a world leader in fighting cancer and survival rates are at record highs but there is still more to do — this research will ensure that many more lives are saved,” said Jeremy Hunt, Health and Social Care Secretary.
The effort complements and extends research undertaken over the past 15 years, in partnership with Cancer Research UK, Prostate Cancer UK, the Medical Research Council, and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and it is now the third most common cause of cancer deaths in the U.K.,” said Iain Frame, director of research at Prostate Cancer UK. “We look forward to finding out more about the plans laid out by the Prime Minister. By working together and pooling our resources we will be able to save more lives more quickly and build a better future for men.”
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