Call for Newham men to check their prostate health at walk-in clinic

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Men across Newham, in East London, are being urged to think about their prostate health and consider attending a check-up at a local walk-in clinic if they have any concerns or want more information.

Any man over the age of 40 can speak to a team of prostate cancer healthcare specialists without an appointment and get tested for a range of prostate problems at the Newham Prostate Drop-In, based at the Newham African Resource Centre on Barking Road.

The centre is provided by Newham University Hospital NHS Trust with support from the Department of Health and The Prostate Cancer Charity.  It offers people information about prostate problems and the opportunity to speak with a specialist nurse.  Men can also have a series of prostate related tests, if required, with most test results provided immediately.

The community walk-in clinic, which opened its doors in December 2010, is being run as a national one year pilot, to try and give easy access to specialist services for men who may not normally go to their GP. One of the main aims of the pilot is to see whether a community setting makes any difference to the number of men accessing this type of service.

This clinic has been set up in Newham because figures revealed by The Prostate Cancer Charity in March identified Newham PCT as having one of the highest prostate cancer mortality rates in England.  Although the reason for this is not known, ensuring that every man has the opportunity to make an informed choice about tests for prostate cancer and have access to a range of effective treatment options and specialist services will give men in Newham the best chance of beating the disease.

The clinic provides an alternative to the GP as a way to access this important information and support.  It also offers men assessments for other, more common, non-cancerous, prostate problems including, prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia, which can both get better with the right treatment.

Dr Frank Chinegwundoh, Lead Urology Consultant and Project Lead, said: "I would encourage men to take advantage of this free opportunity to be prostate aware.  The feedback from those who have attended has been very positive.  This service ends on 20 December 2011."

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men but it does not always show any signs or symptoms. A simple PSA blood test can indicate whether there is a problem with the prostate, which may be prostate cancer, but there are advantages and disadvantages with it, so men need to make an informed choice about whether having this test is right for them.

Men at a higher risk of developing the disease  - those over 50, men from an African Caribbean background and those with a family history of the disease - should have easy access to information and support from a health professional to help them decide whether being tested is right for them.

Katie Scott, Policy & Campaigns Manager at The Prostate Cancer Charity, added: "We know that two thirds of men over 50 are not aware of the PSA test, an important test in the diagnostic process, and that African Caribbean men are even less likely to know about it.  So it is essential that we explore new ways of providing men with important, balanced information about their prostate health and risk of prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men. This pilot in Newham means that anyone who wants more information or is concerned about prostate cancer can simply drop-in during opening times and speak to a specialist nurse.

"There are pros and cons of being tested for prostate cancer - the most common cancer affecting men.  It is essential that men have access to balanced information and support from a health professional to enable them to decide whether being tested is right for them.  It is important that we explore different ways of providing this information and support to men to ensure that every man has access to it."

The Newham Prostate Drop In is run from the Newham African Resource Centre at 627 Barking Road, E13 9EZ from 2:00 - 7:00pm each Monday and Tuesday until Tuesday 20 December 2011, when the pilot is due to end.