Theresa May used her Conservative Party speech today to announce investment in the latest scanners and 'one-stop' centres to radically improve cancer survival rates in the UK. While welcome, we hope they'll be part of a broader NHS plan to help us reach a national screening programme for prostate cancer.
We welcome today's commitment by the Prime Minister to earlier detection of cancer in the UK, promising to invest in better scanners and 'one-stop shops' for diagnosis and treatment.
In her speech at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, Theresa May said: "Through our Cancer Strategy, we will increase the early detection rate from one-in-two today, to-three-in four by 2028.
"We will do it .... by investing in the very latest scanners and by building more Rapid Diagnostic Centres – one stop-shops that help people get treatment quicker.
"This will be a step-change in how we diagnose cancer. It will mean that by 2028, 55,000 more people will be alive five years after their diagnosis compared to today."
Heather Blake, our Director of support and influencing, welcomed the focus on early detection of cancer as part of a long-term plan for NHS England, saying: "Prostate cancer is now the third biggest cancer killer in the UK. It is therefore critical that prostate cancer is a key focus of this early detection drive.
"When the NHS England long-term plan is published later this autumn, we want to see it reflect our ambition to reach a national screening programme for prostate cancer, with resources set aside to implement it once suitable testing methods are available.
"In the meantime, we welcome the promise of investment in the rollout of tests and methods already found to improve the current diagnostic process for prostate cancer – such as MRI scanners.
"If followed through, these aims would complement our own research programme and the £75 million promised by the Government specifically for prostate cancer research over the next five years. By working together, we will be able to save more lives, more quickly and build a better future for men."
Last month, we fed into the public consultation for NHS England's long-term plan, outlining in detail what we think needs to be prioritised to tackle prostate cancer.
We'll continue to hold the government to account as the plan unfolds. We'll also be working hard to influence strategies for tackling cancer in all other parts of the UK, making sure prostate cancer is at the fore.