Local champion lobbies MPs to improve prostate cancer awareness during ethnic minority cancer awareness week

A man from Sheffield joined forces with The Prostate Cancer Charity, last week, speaking to Ministers, MPs and other decision makers about prostate cancer awareness.

Denton Wilson, 55, from Sheffield, attended a crucial panel discussion on the potential impact of NHS reforms at the House of Commons. Professor Steve Field, who led the Government's listening exercise on the NHS reforms, was on the panel.

Denton, who has been successfully treated for the disease, asked the panel at the meeting, held by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer (APPG), and coinciding with Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness Week, what the Government was doing to let African Caribbean men know about their increased risk of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the UK. Every year 37,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. The Charity is campaigning to ensure that men living with prostate cancer, and men with a higher risk of developing the disease have the information, services and support they need at a time when more men are being diagnosed with the disease than ever before.

Denton, who was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 1998 just before losing his father from the disease, said: "I was really pleased to be invited to the House of Commons. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and more men are living with disease than ever before. As someone who has experienced prostate cancer, I know how vital it is that information, support and advice are available. This is even more crucial for African Caribbean men, like me, who are three times more likely to develop prostate cancer than white men."

Denton adds: "My father died of prostate cancer when I was 42 years old. If he had more information about this cancer he might still be alive today. I only went to my GP when I found out my father had this disease. It is crucial that more men are aware of the disease. With the NHS reforms I'm concerned that men won't get the information they need about prostate cancer. We need Government support to ensure this doesn't happen."

Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of The Prostate Cancer Charity, who accompanied Denton to the meeting, said: "It was so important that the APPG looking at the future configuration of cancer services had a chance to hear directly from someone who spoke informatively, and with personal passion, about the impact that prostate cancer had on his life. Denton's questions also illustrated that any future changes to the provision of cancer care services really need to address the unacceptable variations in outcomes for men in different geographical areas and from different parts of the community.

"Last year the Government invested £11 million in cancer awareness programmes for bowel, breast and lung cancer. Yet prostate cancer, the most common cancer affecting men in the UK was left out. It is crucial that MPs hear first hand from men personally affected by the disease. With more men living with the disease than ever before, we must ensure prostate cancer doesn't slip off the radar."