The Patient’s Association has called on the government to improve prostate care for patients in the England and tackle the glaring health inequalities evident in the varying treatment outcomes for the disease across the nation.

The call comes as fresh figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal that patients with prostate cancer have dramatically different chances of survival depending on where they live, which, the Association claims, is “further evidence of the unfair postcode lottery provision of healthcare that patients receive throughout the country”.

Somewhat surprisingly, the figures show that, while the average annual death rate for prostate cancer in England is 26.6 per 100,000, the figures for some of the most affluent areas of the country are much higher, such as Surrey Heath and Windsor, where it is 32 per 100,000 in each. On the other hand, there are areas of the country in which the death rate is far below the national average.

Moreover, substantial differences in prostate cancer treatment outcomes have been observed in areas that are geographically very close together. Take London, for example: in Lewisham West the rate is 38 deaths per 100,000, while, in North Southwark and Bermondsey, it is just 15 per 100,000, further underscoring the stark variance in care between different health localities.

Commenting on the findings, the Patient’s Association stressed: “Such palpable inequalities of healthcare are totally unacceptable,” and it went on to say that “all patients have the right to a uniform level of quality controlled health care irrespective of what their postcode is.”

“More than any other cancer, the story of prostate cancer remains a story of inequalities,” added Frank Chinegwundoh, consultant urologist and member of Prostate Cancer Charter for Action. “Prostate cancer sufferers report worse care, lower awareness and poorer outcomes more than other patients,” he claimed.

Lack of disease awareness?
Meanwhile, a survey by the Prostate Cancer Charity has revealed a worrying lack of knowledge about the disease. Aside from the fact that only 33% of male responders were actually aware of what the prostate does, many said they ignore frequent night-time urination as a potential sign of poor prostate health.

"We certainly don't want men to panic about getting prostate cancer, but we do want far more men to be aware of their risks of this disease and their health in general,” remarked the charity's chief executive, John Neate. "Until men have been to a GP, they won't know why they are getting up several times at night to pee," he stressed.