Sarah Cant: Prostate cancer inequalities rife

PROSTATE cancer is the most common cancer in men and is predicted to be the most common cancer overall by 2030.

Despite the significant advances in treatments that have recently been made, we are still not where we need to be in the battle against this disease, which claims more than 880 lives a year in Scotland.

That’s why we launched “Men United v Prostate Cancer: Five Inequalities, Five Solutions” at Holyrood. This highlights the inequalities in prostate cancer that remain in Scotland today. Awareness of the disease remains too low. The full range of treatments and aftercare support are not always available. Older men have fewer treatment options offered to them than younger men. And one in four black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime – double the average risk of the population.

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We are determined to make these inequalities a thing of the past. We want men who are at high risk of prostate cancer (that’s men over 50, men with a family history of the disease, and black men) to be more aware of their risk and to talk to their GP about whether to have a PSA blood test to check for prostate problems.

We want to make sure that men who are experiencing side-effects from their treatment are able to get the best possible support to help get over them. We need a Scottish National Cancer Patient Experience Survey to understand where care needs to be improved. And, above all, we need to ensure that all Scottish men are getting the drugs and treatments they need, no matter where they live or how old they are.

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As research leads to improved prostate cancer treatments, we need to make sure that Scottish men don’t miss out.

Since launching our document we are delighted that the Scottish Government has announced it will introduce robot-assisted prostate surgery, which just shows what can be achieved. But we will not stop until all of these inequalities have been eliminated. We can, and will, beat prostate cancer. To help us make that day sooner, visit and sign up to the fight.

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• Dr Sarah Cant is director of policy and strategy at Prostate Cancer UK