NHS to trial new prostate screening techniques

The NHS is to launch a major prostate cancer screening trial, it has been announced.

The programme will use MRI and other “innovative” screening techniques, the Department of Health said as it announced the programme for International Men’s Day.

According to the announcement, screening is likely to be targeted at the most vulnerable men, especially those of African heritage, and will involve “hundreds of thousands of men”.

The disease kills 12,000 men a year and 52,000 are diagnosed with the disease annually.

The charity Prostate Cancer UK is providing most of the funding for the £42 million project, which will target men aged 50 to 75 – with black men beginning participation at the age of 45. The Government is contributing £16 million to it.

Professor Lucy Chappell, chief executive of the National Institute for Health and Care Research, said: “New research into harnessing innovative screening methods is crucial in finding ways to detect this serious disease earlier, in the race against time to save lives.

“That’s why setting up this landmark new trial in partnership between NIHR and Prostate Cancer UK is so important.

“Together we can aim to generate high quality long-term evidence to benefit men at risk of developing this condition, and to inform those who plan and deliver NHS services of how best to test for the disease.”

Prostate Cancer UK chief executive Laura Kerby said: “It will finally give us the answers we need to develop a routine testing system and save thousands of men each year.

“Prostate Cancer UK’s unique focus and expertise made us the only organisation that could really deliver this paradigm shifting trial, and we’re delighted that the government has backed our vision to revolutionise diagnosis.”

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