Prostate cancer sufferers in the West Midlands receive some of the worst care in the country, a charity revealed today.
The warning came as it was announced that there are “vast variations” in the care prostate cancer sufferers receive across England.
Prostate Cancer UK highlighted the best and poorest performing health regions in the country. They said many men in the West Midlands and Essex are receiving poor prostate cancer care and support, while the majority who live in Greater Manchester are getting optimal care.
Owen Sharp, chief executive of the charity, said: “It is an outrage that men face a postcode lottery in the care and support they need.
“There are over 215,000 men living with the disease in England, and this number is set to rise at an alarming rate. To help combat this, it is vital that every man has access to world-class information, care and support they need and deserve, no matter where they live.” The charity assessed services in each cancer network by examining patients’ access to specialist nurses, whether they were pointed towards support groups, whether the patients were given different treatment options or written information about their cancer and other variables.
The charity says there is “clear room for improvement” in the West Midlands and Essex, adding: “Their patient experience scores are at the bottom end of the scale in almost every measure.”
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We want to make sure that our cancer services are world-class and that NHS patients receive the best treatment available, wherever they live.
“This is why we have invested £35 million in the biggest publicly funded clinical trial ever to take place in this country to look at the effectiveness of treatments for prostate cancer.”
Meanwhile, breast cancer charities have welcomed a new drug that can extend the life of some women who have an advanced form of the disease. Perjeta, the brand name for pertuzumab, can be used for patients with the aggressive HER-2 positive form of the disease, which accounts for a quarter of all breast cancers. Consultant oncologist David Miles, of the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in London, said: “This licence authorisation has been much anticipated and will be welcome news for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer in the UK.
“Perjeta has been shown to extend survival and control cancer for longer than the current standard of care – showing a magnitude of benefit that has not been seen since the launch of Herceptin more than 10 years ago. This marks a significant step forward in the treatment of this aggressive, difficult-to-treat disease.”