47,300 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, and just under 25% of them will die from the disease. This is a shockingly high statistic and sadly there are many cases where a failure to diagnose prostate cancer sooner leads to serious complications with pain, suffering and premature death.
The failure to diagnose prostate cancer can happen for a number of reasons including:
• Failure to refer for screening when symptoms present in favour of a screening examination.
• Failure to properly screen the patient.
• Misdiagnosing the cancer and/or prescribing medication which masks the symptoms.
• Failure to detect signs of cancer on physical examination and/or testing blood, urine or semen.
• Failure to refer for a biopsy examination either because of uncertain test results or when the test results are clear but are overlooked.
Another contributory factor is the lack family history taken by GPs during patient consultations. Men whose father or brothers suffered from the disease are 2.5 times more likely to develop it, yet research conducted by Prostate Cancer UK in June 2017 revealed only 1 in 10 GPs were likely to ask patients about their family histories. Angela Culhane, Chief Executive of Prostate Cancer UK said “family history of prostate cancer is being dangerously overlooked by both men and their GPs.”
There is currently no single definitive test for prostate cancer, so your GP will discuss the pros and cons of the various tests which include:-
• Providing a urine sample to check for infection.
• Providing a blood sample to test the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA).
• Physical examination of the prostate.
Prostate cancer can be successfully treated if caught in time and GPs have an important role to play in getting an early diagnosis and treatment.
If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and you consider the diagnosis could have been made sooner and wish to be advised, then I shall be pleased to do so. Please contact me a firstname.lastname@example.org.