You may have read that Public Health England have recently announced that Prostate Cancer survival rates one year after diagnosis have "improved" to 96.6%, and whilst on the face of it this looks good, is it? It is generally accepted that 40,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. If 3.4% of men don't survive a year that's 1,360 men.
It is also generally accepted that 10,000 men a year die of the disease. Therefore 1,360...or a hefty 13.6% of those dying...died less than a year after diagnosis. Given that it is generally accepted that Prostate Cancer is one of the slower growing cancers, why is this? It's obviously because there is no screening programme and most finds come too late in the day when men are presenting with, in too many cases, advanced disease. The anti-testing brigade will turn to out dated statistics to support their argument that there is too much over-treatment, but is there?
The analysis by DBS of our 755 cancer finds to date shows 22% are on active surveillance...hardly over-treatment (in fact as DBS points out some of these cases may subsequently prove to have been under treated)...and moreover when we started testing 10 years ago the equivalent percentage was probably of the order of 15/18%...which means that if it's now averaging 22% the more recent finds probably have 25/30% on active surveillance. Hardly indicative of serious levels of over-treatment.
The answer? A SPEEDY improvement of the diagnostic pathway...in the meantime..."Keep Calm...and Keep Testing"!