Men in Leeds at risk as prostate cancer referrals almost halved during Covid-19 pandemic, charity warns

A charity has warned that men in Leeds are at greater risk of being diagnosed with incurable cancer following a drop in prostate cancer referrals.
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Urgent referrals for urological cancers have dropped by 47.9% in Leeds during the Covid-19 pandemic compared to the same period last year, according to the latest figures from Prostate Cancer UK.

The charity found that urgent referrals across England are now at their lowest levels in 10 years.

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Although the number of referrals is now rising, referrals in June were still 13.2% lower in Leeds than in 2019.

Men who are at increased risk of prostate cancer are urged to speak to their GP (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)Men who are at increased risk of prostate cancer are urged to speak to their GP (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Men who are at increased risk of prostate cancer are urged to speak to their GP (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Prostate Cancer UK warns that men with higher-risk cancers are at risk of being diagnosed too late to be cured unless referrals go back up to pre-pandemic levels.

The charity is urging men who are at increased risk of prostate cancer to speak to their GP to discuss testing. This includes men over 50, particularly black men, and those with a family history of the disease.

Celebrities and TV doctors, including EastEnders actor Davood Ghadami, have joined the charity's campaign to raise awareness of the disease and encourage at-risk men to have conversations with their GPs.

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Prostate Cancer UK chief executive Angela Culhane said: “Earlier this year, we announced that prostate cancer had become the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK, thanks largely to a greater awareness of the disease in recent years.

“Detecting prostate cancer earlier helps save lives, but Covid-19 has made it harder for men to visit their doctor this year – especially if they don’t feel unwell or have no symptoms.

"As a result, we estimate there could be 3,500 men in England with a higher-risk prostate cancer which has not yet been diagnosed.

"If we don’t act now, we could face a future where thousands of men are diagnosed too late when the cancer has advanced to a stage that cannot be cured.

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"Most men with early prostate cancer don't have any symptoms, so it's important not to wait until you notice something’s wrong.

"If men are at increased risk because they’re over 50, if they’re black, or if their dad or brother had it, they should call their GP to ask about the pros and cons of a PSA blood test.

"We’re encouraging everyone to share our 30-second risk checker to help find these men that have missed out on a diagnosis."

Anyone with concerns about the disease can speak to a Prostate Cancer UK Specialist Nurse on 0800 074 8383.

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Culhane added: “Some areas have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, and it's critical that men feel safe calling their GP.

"Most GP surgeries offer phone and video consultations, and men need to be reassured that the hospitals their GP may refer them to will be safe and not put them at undue risk from Covid-19.”

EastEnders actor and Prostate Cancer UK ambassador Davood Ghadami said: “We need more men to speak to their GPs about their risk of prostate cancer.

"My dad found out he was more at risk as a man over the age of 50, after watching me on TV presenting an NHS Award to Prostate Cancer UK supporter Errol McKellar.

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“He went to see his GP and we were stunned when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but grateful it was caught early and he was successfully treated.”

Prostate Cancer UK’s 30-second online risk checker to help men understand their risk is available onlineA message from the Editor:

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