Tackle co-hosted a discussion on whether we should be screening for prostate cancer in the Churchill Room at the House of Commons on 27 February. The evening was organised by Chris Booth, a member of our Clinical Advisory Board, and sponsored by Lord Bernie Ribeiro, Sir Bernard Jenkin MP and Mrs Ian Hunter. Co-hosts were CHAPS and Orchid.
To set the scene, Monique Roobol-Boots, a Dutch researcher in the Urology Department at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, gave a very informative and thought-provoking presentation. Her conclusion was clear: that targeted screening for prostate cancer was beneficial.
From the floor, Jim Davis – Chairman of PCaSO Dorset – made an impassioned plea for the immediate introduction of prostate cancer screening based on the results of the many thousands of PSA tests that PCaSO has carried out which, he said, clearly demonstrated the need.
Alphonso Archer then recounted his personal story. He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer so recommended his brother to have a PSA test. However, as his brother was under 50, this was refused him even despite the clear family connection increasing the risk and that he was of black ethnicity which doubled the risk from 1 in 8 to 1 in 4.
Sir Mike Richards, an oncologist who was National Cancer Director in the UK from 1999 to 2013, then gave an overview of the development of prostate cancer research over the years, recognising the great advances that have been made but he stopped short of recommending screening.
Rounding up the evening, Sir Bernard thanked everybody and said that he would take a lot away from the evening and in particular from the personal stories. Lord Ribeiro commented on the evening “the keynote speech struck just the right chord and will send many home appreciating the need for targeted screening, a powerful message”.