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Postcode lottery on prostate cancer

Campaigners have revealed official figures which indicate that men in some parts of England are almost five times as likely to die from prostate cancer as those in other areas.

Data from the Office for National Statistics show that death rates from prostate cancer are more than 25% above the England average in almost one in five parliamentary constituencies. The England average in 2007 was 25 deaths from prostate cancer per 100,000 people.

The highest proportion of deaths due to the illness was in Tottenham, north London, where the 57 deaths per 100,000 was 131% above the England average. This contrasted with south east Cambridgeshire's 12 deaths per 100,000 – 49% below the English average.

The figures have been analysed by the Prostate Cancer Charter for Action, which says that men are suffering from a postcode lottery.

It said parts of the country were not implementing key guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on the best treatments on offer for prostate cancer and how services should be organised.

Professor Mike Richards, National Clinical Director for Cancer, commented: "Raising the public awareness of prostate cancer is one of the key challenges for the future.

"We want men to know what their prostate is, what it does, and what can go wrong with it and we are tackling this through the national awareness and early detection initiative."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Prostate Cancer Charter for Action

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Why can't men above the age of 50 have a routine MRI scan, totally painless, yes expensive. My husband just been diagnosed with advance prostate cancer at the age of 61. From the initial PSA blood test till he commenced the treatment took a shocking 47 days of utter agony and immense stress. Both bone scan and MRI scan were done privately at our own
personal cost to speed the process up. Why, why can men not be screened routinely just like ladies have cervical and breast scans? Surely in the long run this would prove cost effective" - K Hills, East Anglia