Health

Up to 12,000 men dying from prostate cancer each year without access to key drugs

Every year in England, up to 12,000 men die of prostate cancer because their breakthrough drugs are refused by the NHS, charities warn.

Three charities have united with actor Stephen Fry, who survived the disease, to call for precision treatments Olaparib and Pluvicto to be made available.

Olaparib is the world’s first genetically targeted drug proven to be safe and effective for advanced prostate cancer in men with the BRCA 1/2 mutation.

It almost doubled the time patients survived without their cancer spreading compared to those using existing treatments, and it has been approved for use in Scotland.

Three charities have united with prostate cancer survivor actor Stephen Fry to call for precision treatments Olaparib and Pluvicto to be made available

Pluvicto is a targeted drug that attaches to a protein called prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), which is found in 80 to 90 percent of advanced prostate cancers.

It works like a guided missile: it locates cancer cells in the body and delivers a radioactive payload to destroy them.

Trial results suggest it can improve a patient’s quality of life, reduce the risk of progression and extend patients’ lives by an average of four months.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) in September rejected the use of Olaparib on the NHS for patients in England with advanced prostate cancer.

It is currently discussing its preliminary recommendation to reject the use of Pluvicto in men with advanced prostate cancer, with a final decision expected within weeks.

No precision drugs have yet been approved for NHS use in the deadliest form of the disease, although they are licensed for doctors to prescribe privately.

Olaparib Is The World'S First Genetically Targeted Drug Proven To Be Safe And Effective For Advanced Prostate Cancer In Men With The Brca 1/2 Mutation

Olaparib is the world’s first genetically targeted drug proven to be safe and effective for advanced prostate cancer in men with the BRCA 1/2 mutation

Stephen Fry said: ‘I thought I was lucky when my cancer was discovered early because I had a lot of options to choose from.

“People with advanced disease have had few good options for so long.

‘It is bitterly disappointing that we finally have two new promising treatments, which have been proven to work well even after all else has failed, but they are not being made available on the NHS.

“For a country that has developed so many great things like this, it makes no sense that we have a chance to help men live longer with fewer side effects from the treatment and we are not taking that.

‘These drugs are already available for other cancers on the NHS. Why not for prostate cancer? Why are we leaving these men behind?’

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK, with one in eight men in the UK expected to be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime.

The current outlook for patients with advanced prostate cancer is poor and few treatment options are available.

Pluvicto Is A Targeted Drug That Attaches To A Protein Called Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen (Psma), Which Is Found In 80 To 90 Percent Of Advanced Prostate Cancers

Pluvicto is a targeted drug that attaches to a protein called prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), which is found in 80 to 90 percent of advanced prostate cancers

The five-year survival rate for people with advanced prostate cancer is only 49 percent, a figure that hasn’t improved in 30 years.

Prostate Cancer Research, Prostate Cancer UK and Tackle Prostate Cancer said in a joint statement: ‘A prostate cancer diagnosis should not be a death sentence for any man, but 12,000 men die of prostate cancer each year.

“We work with men living with prostate cancer every day and we know how crucial these new drugs are, offering hope for a longer and better life when there are no other options.

“The UK Government has made a strong and clear commitment to support the development of innovative precision medicines.

“What we need now is an equally strong commitment to delivering these targeted therapies to the patients who need them.

“PSMA scanning and genomic testing has more value than prescribing personalized drugs as part of prostate cancer care.

‘If these personalized medicines were available, they could help speed up take-up and improve access to these tests in the NHS.

Stephen Fry Said: 'I Thought I Was Lucky When My Cancer Was Discovered Early Because I Had A Lot Of Options To Choose From. For So Long, Men With Advanced Disease Have Had Few Good Options'

Stephen Fry said: ‘I thought I was lucky when my cancer was discovered early because I had a lot of options to choose from. For so long, men with advanced disease have had few good options’

Every day 33 men in the UK lose their lives to prostate cancer. These new medicines can make all the difference and give quality time back to these men and their families.”

A NICE spokesperson said: ‘Our independent review committee carefully considered all the evidence put forward for olaparib for the treatment of BRCA mutation-positive hormone-recurrent metastatic prostate cancer, but had to make the difficult decision not to recommend it. because the price offered could not be taken into consideration. a cost-effective use of NHS resources.

“There is an option for NICE to look at the drug through the rapid review process, where olaparib can be re-evaluated if the company wants to submit a revised price.

“Together with our colleagues from NHS England and other organisations, we are always open to discussions on how we can ensure that the NHS can provide people with new treatments that combine the best care with value for money.”

The spokesperson said Pluvicto has not been referred to the watchdog for review, although the website suggests it has.

WHAT IS PROSTATE CANCER?

How many people does it kill?

More than 11,800 men a year – or one every 45 minutes – die from the disease in Britain, compared with about 11,400 women who die from breast cancer.

It means prostate cancer is behind only lungs and bowel in terms of how many people it kills in Britain.

In the US, 26,000 men die from the disease each year.

Despite this, it receives less than half of breast cancer research funding and treatments for the disease are at least a decade behind schedule.

How many men are diagnosed each year?

Each year, more than 52,300 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK – more than 140 a day.

How fast is it developing?

Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs that someone has had it for many years, according to the health service.

If the cancer is at an early stage and does not cause symptoms, a policy of ‘watchful waiting’ or ‘active surveillance’ may be followed.

Some patients can be cured if the disease is treated at an early stage.

But if it is diagnosed at a later stage, when it has spread, it becomes terminal and treatment revolves around relieving the symptoms.

Thousands of men are deterred from getting a diagnosis because of the known side effects of the treatment, including erectile dysfunction.

Testing and treatment

Tests for prostate cancer are haphazard, with accurate tools just beginning to appear.

There is no nationwide prostate screening program because the tests have been too imprecise for years.

Doctors struggle to differentiate between aggressive and less severe tumors, making it difficult to make a decision about treatment.

Men over the age of 50 are eligible for a ‘PSA’ blood test that gives doctors a rough idea of ​​whether a patient is at risk.

But it is unreliable. Patients who get a positive result usually get a biopsy which is also not foolproof.

Scientists aren’t sure what causes prostate cancer, but age, obesity, and lack of exercise are known risks.

Anyone with any concerns can speak to Prostate Cancer UK specialist nurses on 0800 074 8383 or visit prostatecancer.org

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Merry

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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