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Prostate Cancer

Question for Department of Health

UIN 14175, tabled on 30 October 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what representations he has received on the availability of comparative information on and screening for prostate cancer.

Answered on

16 November 2015

The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) advises Ministers and the National Health Service in all four countries about all aspects of screening policy and supports implementation. In 2010, the UK NSC recommended against a screening programme for prostate cancer as there was no clear evidence that the benefit to screen for prostate cancer outweighed the harms. The UK NSC re-affirmed this decision in 2012 and is in the process of reviewing this policy currently.

The School of Health and Related Research at the University of Sheffield performed an option appraisal for the UK NSC based on the latest trial evidence for screening for prostate cancer in 2013. A number of screening strategies were considered including annual screening in men aged 50 to 74 years. The overall survival benefit with all strategies was small and outweighed by the harms of over diagnosis and the adverse effects of over treatment.

Public Health England (PHE) ran a local pilot campaign for six weeks in 2014, specifically targeting prostate cancer within Black African-Caribbean men, because of their significantly increased risk of developing prostate cancer. The campaign ran in six London boroughs. In addition, PHE will be running a national campaign on “Blood in Pee” in early 2016. This is primarily aimed at bladder and kidney cancer but blood in the urine can also be a sign of prostate cancer.

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