Press release

PM to announce new research and funding in drive to fight prostate cancer

Prime Minister Theresa May announces plans to tackle prostate cancer during visit to hospital in Cambridgeshire.

placeholder

The Prime Minister will today [10 April 2018] set out ambitious new plans to help thousands of men with prostate cancer get treated earlier and faster.

Over 40,000 men will be recruited into prostate cancer studies over the next five years, which will be backed by £75 million to support new research into early diagnosis and treatment.

The Prime Minister will also meet with NHS staff during the visit to Cambridgeshire – the first in a series of discussions as the government works with the health service to develop a long-term plan for the NHS.

Ahead of the visit, Theresa May said:

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.

Today’s announcement comes as the Prime Minister confirmed the government will come forward with a fully funded, long-term plan for the NHS this year – the year of the service’s 70th birthday - in conjunction with NHS leaders, clinicians, and health experts.

She continued:

Now in its 70th year, our NHS has a bright future – since last November, we have already committed £10 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.

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.

Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

Prostate cancer claims too many lives every year and our ability to detect and treat it in the very early stages is crucial in fighting this disease.

The plans announced today 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.

The new studies will particularly target higher risk groups including black men – one in four of whom will develop the disease – as well as men aged 50 or over and men with a family history of prostate cancer.

Over 40,000 patients will be recruited for more than 60 studies in prostate cancer, to test treatments including more precise radiotherapy, high-intensity focused ultrasound, cryotherapy, alongside supportive interventions including exercise and dietary advice.

This new research drive comes as ‘one stop cancer shops’ are being piloted in ten areas to catch cancer early and speed up diagnosis, particularly for those suffering with less obvious symptoms.

Dr Jonathan Sheffield, Chief Executive at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network said:

Clinical research brings us closer to the development of new treatments for prostate cancer patients.

The NIHR will work closely with the NHS, life sciences industry, charities and research funders to support the recruitment of 40,000 men into research studies over the next five years. This will provide more opportunities for earlier access to new drugs and therapies, which will ultimately lead to improved diagnoses and care in the future.

Today’s announcement will both complement and extend research undertaken over the past fifteen years in close partnership with Cancer Research UK, Prostate Cancer UK, the Medical Research Council and the NIHR.

Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Prostate Cancer UK said:

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and it is now the third most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK.

However, with increased research investment used wisely, over the next few years we can turn this around and make prostate cancer a disease men no longer need to fear. This is what Prostate Cancer UK is striving for through our ambitious research programme.

Today’s announcement shows a very welcome and positive commitment from the government to play a key role in getting men the early and accurate diagnosis and treatments for prostate cancer they deserve. It at last shows recognition of what a huge issue prostate cancer is and the focus needed to stop it being a killer.

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.

Published 10 April 2018