Cutting Time on Prostate Cancer

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Last week, NHS England announced plans to cut the diagnosis time for prostate cancer from six weeks to a matter of days. Our Senior Associate Kim Huggins explains more.

Prostate cancer is currently the most common cancer in men the UK, with more than 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year and around 11,000 deaths.

Coinciding with the news of NHS England’s new pilot scheme, was the headline-hitting disclosure by Stephen Fry of his own battle with prostate cancer. Currently undergoing treatment for the disease, he credited the early detection with preventing the spread of the disease.

What is Prostate Cancer?

The prostate gland is located between the penis and bladder, which produces a fluid that forms part of the body’s semen supply. The vast majority of prostate cancer cases arise in men over the age of 50, and most men with early prostate cancer do not have any signs/symptoms.

Symptoms tend to arise once the cancer has grown and places pressure on the urethra. When symptoms do arise they include:

  • The need to urinate more frequently, often during the night
  • Urinary urgency
  • Difficulty in starting urination
  • Straining or taking a long time while urinating
  • Weak urinary flow
  • A feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully

Signs that the cancer has spread beyond the prostate include bone and back pain, a loss of appetite, pain in the testicles and unexplained weight loss.

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Cancer - Could We Be Doing More?

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Over 300,000 people are diagnosed with cancer per year. Research shows that often diagnosis could have been made at an earlier stage. So, could we be doing more?

In many cases, a delay in cancer diagnosis is the result of doctors not acting upon symptoms patients are reporting or a misinterpretation of test results. 

A report conducted by Macmillan Cancer Support and Public Health England investigated various cancer types and their survival rates, including: bladder; female breast; colorectal; kidney, renal, pelvis and ureter; lung, trachea and bronchus; melanoma of skin; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; ovary; prostate and uterine cancer.

It was revealed that 17,000 people survived for several years with 10 types of stage 4 cancer.

Whilst the people behind these advancements in cancer treatment and care should be applauded that survival rates have improved, the fact still lies that cancer survival rates in the UK lag behind those of other European countries. 

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Local Hospitals Accused of Cancer Neglect

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Concerns have been raised over the increasing number of serious cancer misdiagnosis incidents at local Queens and King George Hospitals in Romford.

Papers published last week by Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) state that over the past few months there has been “an increasing number of serious incidents coming through specifically related to missed or delayed diagnosis for cancer.”

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) responded to the report, saying it has been working closely with key partners to address the highlighted issues; however, the CCG was so concerned with what was revealed during the report that it has since raised the issue with NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The CCG’s report also stated that “there are also concerns that operations are being carried out without a full complement of staff, as staff are leaving the theatre to scrub for emergency operations.” These findings will worry residents of Essex who are no doubt concerned about the competency of their local hospitals.

These days many cancers are treatable; the earlier the cancer is detected and treated, the better the outcome is likely to be.

Medical negligence in respect of misdiagnosis can occur in three ways:

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Mesothelioma & Asbestos Disease Support Group

A new Essex Patient Support Group for sufferers of Mesothelioma and asbestos disease will be launched at Pinney Talfourd's Brentwood office on Wednesday 13 July.
Knowledge of the medical effects of asbestos has accumulated slowly since the turn of the century and it is now universally agreed that the exposure of men and women to asbestos fibres can, in certain circumstances, lead to three diseases such as Asbestosis, lung cancer and Mesothelioma of the pleura or peritoneum. It is also known to cause another group of cancers including cancer of the larynx, gastro-intestinal tract, and kidney, amongst others.

Mesothelioma UK is a national resource centre dedicated to providing free specialist information, support & improved care and treatment. Ambassador for the charity, Brian Chamen-Wallis, runs a network of support groups in the South East, collectively called Anglia Asbestos Disease Support Group. This group is expanding to Essex and they will be launching an Essex Patient Support Group on Wednesday 13 July. 

Stephen Green is a Partner at Pinney Talfourd specialising in personal injury. Stephen is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel and a member of Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). He is also an APIL Accredited Senior Litigator. He has worked with Mesothelioma UK to provide legal advice to many sufferers and their families.

Anglia Asbestos Disease Patient Support Group in Essex

Pinney Talfourd are delighted to be able to host the newly formed Patient Support Group for the Essex area. Essex has been identified as having one of the highest rates of the asbestos related disease in the country and this group aims to provide advice and emotional support as well as practical information to sufferers, family members and also those working with sufferers.

This group is free to join and support groups are free to attend.

The event will include a light lunch provided by Pinney Talfourd. Please advise at the time of booking on any dietary requirements.

Date:       Wednesday 13 July

Time:       11am – 3pm

Venue:     Pinney Talfourd, New North House, 78 Ongar Road, Brentwood, Essex CM15 9BB

For more information and to book your free place please contact Charlotte Butler on 01708 229444 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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