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Last Updated: Monday, 31 October 2005, 01:14 GMT
Leaders united on prostate cancer
Michael Howard, Charles Kennedy and Tony Blair
The three leaders have recorded messages of support
Leaders from the three main political parties have joined together to call for an improvement in the treatment of prostate cancer.

Tony Blair, Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy have taped support messages for the Prostate Cancer Charter for Action.

The "Audio Day Motion" recordings will be played at Thursday's National Prostate Cancer Conference in London.

Cancer charities want a national screening programme for the disease, which kills 10,000 men a year.

As part of the Audio Day Motion, other MPs and lords are also being invited to add their voice to the recordings.

The initiative is based on Parliament's Early Day Motions where MPs sign their names to issues.

The BBC's John Humphrys has also joined in with his own message.

'Worse experience'

The participants have in common a vulnerability to the disease - the most common form of cancer in men.

Thirty thousand a year get prostate cancer and a third of them die from it.

Much remains to be done and too many men with prostate cancer still get a poor deal
Sandy Tyndale-Biscoe
Prostate Cancer Charter for Action

The Prostate Cancer Charter for Action, formed in 2003, is made up of 22 charities and organisations including the Prostate Cancer Charity and Cancer Research UK.

Campaigners say that men with prostate cancer report a worse experience than patients with other types of cancer.

They are calling for a national screening programme as soon as a reliable test is developed and have set specific targets to be met in Parliament.

The recruitment of many more specialist nurses would make the biggest difference to survival rates, they say.

And they are calling on the government to give a new lead in coordinating research efforts to develop treatment.

The high-profile campaign was launched as the government announced an initiative to educate people about the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer, and to encourage men to speak openly about it.

Prostate cancer patient Sandy Tyndale-Biscoe, speaking for the Prostate Cancer Charter for Action, paid tribute to the politicians who have spoken out for an improvement to services.

"Much remains to be done and too many men with prostate cancer still get a poor deal," he said.

"There is a historic opportunity to change this and we must make tackling prostate cancer a priority."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Party leaders give their taped messages of support



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