Today, 4th November 2014, the Movember Foundation in partnership with Prostate Cancer UK, announces the launch of a new research initiative – ‘Life after prostate cancer diagnosis’. Announced as millions of people across the globe start sprouting the annual Movember campaign moustaches, the project will commit up to £2.2 million to identify what life is really like for the 250,000 men living with an beyond the disease in the UK, and what steps can be taken to improve it.
The largest study of its kind in the UK, researchers will analyse the experiences of more than 100,000 men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer between one and three years ago. They aim to identify how a diagnosis of prostate cancer impacts a man’s daily life, and work out which factors lead to poorer outcomes for some. By highlighting any gaps in support and care services, the results will help shape changes to improve prostate cancer care in the future.
Paul Villanti, Director of Programmes at The Movember Foundation said: “Right now we simply do not know enough about how prostate cancer is impacting on the lives of men following their diagnosis and treatment. We urgently need to know more if we are to ensure every man returns to feeling just as well as they did before their prostate cancer diagnosis and for the first time this unique initiative should enable us to discover the answers we need. It is thanks to the thousands of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas who raise funds every year that we are able to launch the project in partnership with Prostate Cancer UK today, and start the road to bringing about real change for the future.”
Dr Sarah Cant, Director of Policy and Strategy at Prostate Cancer UK said: “This exciting study is going to investigate the full range of issues that could affect a man after he’s been diagnosed with prostate cancer. It will also look to see if men of different ages, locations, ethnicities and socio-economic groups have different experiences. We will use the results to make sure all men in the UK can get the support they need, and help men and their doctors make the best decisions about treatment and care. Ultimately, we want to improve the lives of men with prostate cancer, and this research should help us do just that.”
The ‘Life after prostate cancer diagnosis’ project will build on a pilot study led by the English Department of Health in 20121, which showed significant variation in how men were affected by prostate cancer, the level of impact of the disease on their lives, and how they coped with it. It will take the form of a confidential postal survey sent to men across all four UK nations. Questions will cover topics such as wellbeing and attitude towards their illness, impact of the cancer and its side effects on every day life, reflections on choice of treatment and impact of other long term conditions.
The award has been granted to Dr Adam Glaser at the University of Leeds, and Dr Anna Gavin at Queen’s University Belfast, who will be working with other researchers at Oxford Brookes University, the University of Southampton and Public Health England. The project itself is part of a much wider global Movember initiative, with similar studies planned so far in Ireland and Australia. All the information will eventually be pooled to enable the teams to learn from men’s experiences across different countries.
Dr Adam Glaser, Consultant and Clinical Associate Professor in Paediatric Oncology and the Late-Effects of Cancer at the University of Leeds comments: “Healthcare is fundamentally about improving people’s health. And to judge the success of that, you have to ask the public and patients; what’s important to you? What’s been particularly good or bad, and how can we improve? We know that survival rates for prostate cancer are increasing, however it is not enough just to be alive, living well is key too. This survey is an opportunity for men to feed back what they are really experiencing to help improve the journey for others with prostate cancer for years to come.”
Dr Anna Gavin, Director of the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry and Clinical Reader in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast said: “Every man invited to take part in this study will have valuable information that they can share, whatever their experience, background or stage of treatment. Maybe even after the cancer is gone, some men have problems dealing with the side effects of treatment and don’t know who to talk to, or are embarrassed about doing so – they may not even know if they’re the only person feeling this way. By responding to this research they will be helping bring those issues into the open so that they can be effectively addressed.”