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Last Updated: Friday, 15 July, 2005, 23:02 GMT 00:02 UK
Prostate cancer 'priority' call
Prostate images
Over 30,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK each year
Prostate cancer patients are demanding the disease is given a higher priority by the government and the NHS.

Prostate Research Campaign UK surveyed over 1,000 people who had the disease or were close to someone who did.

They found 96% felt there should be more investment in research and therapies for a disease which is the UK's commonest form of male cancer.

Experts said advances in treatment were being made, but were not always available to all patients.

Although, we are making significant steps in treating prostate cancer, such advances don't always reach patients
Professor Roger Kirby, Prostate Research Campaign UK

The survey also found 90% felt the negative impact of prostate cancer was under-estimated by the general public.

The survey follows a report from the National Audit Office published in February this year, which found prostate cancer patients were dissatisfied with the information they received about side effects and treatment outcomes, as well as waiting times to be seen by a specialist.

Each year, around 30,100 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 10,000 die from the disease.

Drug review

Professor Roger Kirby, Visiting Professor in Urology at St Georges's Hospital, London and chairman of Prostate Research Campaign UK said: "The findings of our survey should help us understand the needs of those directly affected by prostate disease and ensure that we direct resource where it will be most valued.

"Although, we are making significant steps in treating prostate cancer, such advances don't always reach patients."

Studies have shown the drug Taxotere (docetaxel), currently used to treat breast cancer, can help men with advanced prostate cancer.

It has been licensed for treating men with prostate cancer, but is not yet widely available, pending a review by the drugs watchdog, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

Professor Kirby said: "Men living with prostate cancer should be given the opportunity to make an informed choice about and have access to new treatments which provide prolonged survival and better quality of life."

A second organisation, the Prostate Cancer Charity is beginning its own national survey of patients' experiences of their diagnosis and treatment for the disease.

John Neate, the Charity's Chief Executive says: "Our job is to drive hard to secure the very best NHS services for men affected by prostate cancer."

A spokeswoman for NICE said: "People should not be denied any drug simply because it is under review by us."

She said it would its conclusions would be published next summer.

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