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Last Updated: Friday, 4 November 2005, 12:22 GMT
Prostate cancer news 'by phone'
man on phone
Some men heard about their cancer diagnosis over the phone
One in five men diagnosed with prostate cancer are told the news in an insensitive way - some by phone or letter, a survey has found.

The Prostate Cancer Charity asked over 1,140 men about their experiences.

Just under a quarter of those who were alone when they heard their diagnosis wished someone had been with them.

And almost 20% were not made aware of the side effects of different prostate cancer treatments, which can include impotence and incontinence.

Men's vital needs are not being met and more appropriate care, support and advice is crucial to their well-being
Professor Jessica Corner, of the charity Macmillan Cancer Relief

And 40% said they were not given written information about the disease, treatments or side effects such as impotence to take away with them.

The Prostate Cancer Charity said the survey findings, which it launched at a conference in London this week, highlighted the wide variations in care that men received.

Every year, over 30,000 men are diagnosed with the disease and 10,000 men die from it.

It is now the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the UK.

'Anger and frustration'

Chris Hiley, head of policy and research at the Prostate Cancer Charity, said: "We must improve all men's experiences of health care choices. Help them demand attention.

"Change society's views so men's entitlement to tailored health care is as respected as women's."

John Neate, chief executive of the charity, said: "Many men singled out doctors and nurses who gave them fantastic care.

"But all too often the comments described men's anger and frustration."

He added: "It's disgraceful that so many men with prostate cancer still do not get appropriate care and support.

"One man told us how he received a letter on a Saturday telling him he had cancer, with a help number that was not available until the following Monday.

"Another man commented: 'Although I had disgraceful attention, I have been lucky with no serious effects'."

He called on the government to make prostate cancer a more urgent priority.

Professor Jessica Corner, of the charity Macmillan Cancer Relief, said: "Men's vital needs are not being met and more appropriate care, support and advice is crucial to their well-being.

"Only over the past five years has the NHS invested resources into prostate cancer compared to breast cancer for example and this needs to change."

"With more research, resources and greater awareness, men could start to see an improvement in prostate cancer services."


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