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Prostate cancer "postcode lottery"

Death rates from prostate cancer indicate there is a "postcode lottery" at work in different parts of England, campaigners claim.

Mortality rates for the disease vary from more than 40% below the national average to the same number of percentage points above it, depending on where people live.

The average annual death rate for prostate cancer in England is 26.6 per 100,000 people.

But figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that in Lewisham West in south-east London, the rate is 38 deaths per 100,000 people - 43% above the average.

Yet in nearby North Southwark and Bermondsey, death rates are just 15 per 100,000 - 44% below the average.

Other Parliamentary constituencies with high prostate cancer death rates are Surrey Heath and Windsor.

But Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central, Blackburn and Burnley all share the same death rate of 18 per 100,000, 32% below the average for England.

Frank Chinegwundoh, a consultant urologist at Newham University Hospital NHS Trust who supports Prostate Cancer Charter for Action, said: "More than any other cancer, the story of prostate cancer in the UK remains a story of inequalities. Prostate cancer sufferers report worse care, lower awareness and poorer outcomes than other patients.

"Now these figures show that even amongst prostate cancer patients, a man's chances of dying depends on where he lives. There can be no excuse for these inequalities in a 21st Century NHS."

Prostate Cancer Charter for Action

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"In my case a consultant told me that there was no point in having a psa test because no treatment would be given to a man of my age - even though I have no other medical problems. I obtained a second opinion when I was told the opposite - following tests I now know that my prostate is cancerous. Perhaps the difference in outcomes is more due to disagreement among health professionals than differences in postcodes." - d e mahoney, camborne cornwall.