Millions of pounds is to be invested into research to help tackle prostate cancer, the prime minister will announce during a hospital visit today (April 10th 2018).
Some 40,000 men are to be recruited via the National Institute for Health Research clinical research network to participate in more than 60 studies over the coming years. These will test more precise radiotherapy, cryotherapy, high-intensity focused ultrasound and lifestyle-related interventions in a bid to establish better methods of diagnosis and improved treatments against the disease.
Prostate cancer recently overtook breast cancer to become the UK's third biggest cancer killer and health campaigners have repeatedly argued that this form of the disease is not attracting the attention it deserves.
It kills some 11,000 men every year and reports suggest it could be the most deadly form of cancer by 2030.
Mrs May will announce the initiative at a visit to an NHS hospital in Cambridgeshire, timed to coincide with Male Cancer Awareness Week.
"Our cancer treatments are world-class and survival rates are at a record high, but prostate cancer still claims thousands of lives every year. I know we can do more. That's why I am setting out new plans to help thousands of men get treated earlier and faster," she commented.
"This will provide more opportunities for earlier access to new drugs and therapies, which will ultimately lead to improved diagnoses and care in the future," added Dr Jonathan Sheffield, chief executive of the National Institute for Health Research.
Currently, there is no one test for prostate cancer. In some cases, levels of prostate-specific antigens in the blood are tested, but these are not always a reliable indicator of the condition and can result in unnecessary surgery.
Because prostate cancer often develops slowly, many patients are unaware they have it for years and it can spread to other organs in the body prior to diagnosis.
Indeed, a recent report by the charity Orchid suggested that four out of ten cases are diagnosed when they are already at stage three or four, by which time any treatment is likely to be too late.
This research is sure to be widely welcomed by the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries and could lead to career opportunities for a range of professionals over the coming years.