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Poor men “less likely to receive prostate cancer treatment”

23 April 2010

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Experts have suggested people from affluent backgrounds are more likely to receive curative treatment for prostate cancer because they have access to more information and can communicate with doctors easier than those from poorer areas.

Men from the most deprived areas of the UK are 52% less likely to receive radical surgery than those from better-off backgrounds, while poorer patients are 26% less likely to have radiotherapy, according to a large-scale study.

Approximately 35,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year and 10,000 die from the disease.

Prostate cancer survival rates have increased to about 80% for men at the top of the socio-economic ladder, while those in affluent areas are 20% to 40% more likely to have the disease picked up.

This is thought to be partly because men from affluent backgrounds are more willing to be tested for PSA (prostate specific antigen), a blood marker linked to prostate cancer.

The new research led by Dr Georgios Lyratzopoulos, from Cambridge University, was published in the British Medical Journal.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

University of Cambridge