The Royal College of Surgeons finds 90 per cent of men who had surgery or radiotherapy to cure their prostate cancer on the English NHS rated their care as very good. But Prostate Cancer UK is concerned that overtreatment of men with low-risk localised disease hasn't declined.

14 Dec 2016

The third annual report of the National Prostate Cancer Audit (NPCA) has been published today by the Clinical Effectiveness Unit at the Royal College of Surgeons. 

It examined the care men received following a diagnosis of prostate cancer between April 2014 and March 2015 in the English NHS, and found that an impressive 90% of men receiving curative treatment for prostate cancer said their care was very good.

Problems still with overtreatment and side effects

But the results showed there were also other areas where there is still much room for improvement – particularly around ensuring the number of men with low-risk localised prostate cancer are not being treated unnecessarily.

"It's great news that the percentage of men with locally advanced prostate cancer who undergo curative treatment continues to rise, and that a high proportion of all men having curative treatment are reporting a good experience of care," says Heather Blake, director of Support and Influencing at Prostate Cancer UK.

"We also welcome the Audit team’s acknowledgement that poor sexual function is a factor that impacts many men following treatment, and we echo their call that these men should have early and ongoing access to relevant services and treatment.

Active surveillance should be a confident alternative

"But, it is concerning that the Audit shows no further decline in the overtreatment of men with low-risk localised prostate cancer, and wide variation in practice across England.

"We need to make sure that the impact of the ProtecT trial is felt across the country, so that more men feel confident to consider active surveillance as a valid treatment choice, as well as surgery and radiotherapy. We also want to bring an end to the very concerning variation in overtreatment that the Audit has shown.”

The ProtecT trial published in September 2016 and the results showed that men with localised prostate cancer who choose active surveillance have the same survival rate over 10 years as those choosing radiotherapy or surgery.

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