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Tackle teams up with Wiltshire Walking Football Club to help raise awareness of prostate cancer

Tackle has teamed up with Wiltshire Walking Football Club to help raise awareness of prostate cancer.

Walking football is different to regular Association Football and is aimed at the over 50s age group, teams are springing up across the country. Many tournaments are now catering exclusively for the over 60s age group. It has very specific rules that outlaw all running and allows no contact between players. Over-head height restrictions and indirect free kicks ensure that the sport is played safely with full consideration to the participants’ age.

Teams are either 5 or 6-a-side. As a result of these rules, games are played at a slower pace, often on state of the art 3G artificial grass pitches, thus reducing the threat of pain, discomfort and injury, with players briskly walking through matches. This allows people who have loved the sport all their lives to once again safely get back to playing and also introduces the sport to people who perhaps have never considered playing before.

Tackle have offered to supply all the Wiltshire recreational sessions with new bibs which will benefit the average 600 players who play across the area on a monthly basis. They are also providing both the Over 50 and Over 60 teams with a new set of shirts each along with new bibs.

Tony Norton, Lead Volunteer/Organiser for Wiltshire Walking Football (recreational) and the Chairman/Club Secretary for Wilts Walking FC said: “There are lots of worthy causes and charities for us to support but Tackle is not only a very appropriate name to be associated with Walking Football but a very appropriate cause for the age group concerned in walking football and currently mainly male players. We are very proud to be partnered with Tackle, not only because our team manager Alphonso Archer is now a trustee but we all want to help spread the awareness of the charity and encourage males to get checked early; early diagnosis can often result in higher chances of fighting this horrible cancer.”

Roger Wotton chairman of Tackle Prostate Cancer commented: "We are looking forward to the collaboration this coming season to raise awareness and funds. This could develop into a very useful way of encouraging men with prostate cancer to get regular exercise, stay healthy and have a better quality of life.”

Tackle has recently appointed Alphonso Archer as a Trustee to the charity. Alphonso has close connection with Wiltshire Walking Football Club. During his treatment period, Alphonso took up walking football which mentally and physically helped him to get through what was a very challenging time getting used the hormone and radiotherapy side effects.

Alphonso said: “This is the perfect partnership for us as we aim to get prostate cancer high on the agenda until it becomes a disease of less significance. I have made it to the other side and achieved some great successes on the way and want to spread positivity to all men and their families so that we can beat this by working together. I am really looking forward to working with the Board and all supporters to keep prostate cancer high on the agenda in all areas until this becomes a disease of less significance.”

Towards Prostate Cancer Screening

Chris Booth, a member of our Clinical Advisory Board, reports on the outcomes of our Conference theme of "Prostate Cancer: To Screen or Not to Screen":

Over 47,000 UK men are diagnosed with prostate cancer (PCa) every year and nearly 12,000 die from it, a greater death rate now than for breast cancer.  Aside from the unpleasantness of death from PCa and its huge cost to the NHS, there is a clear inequity in the lack of provision and laissez faire attitude to our commonest male cancer, now killing a man every 45 minutes and with the UK death rate continuing to rise.

The UK Government’s health strategy is to promote prevention and early diagnosis, but without up to date guidance, the situation around prostate cancer screening in the UK remains as confused as ever for both men and GPs alike.  Whilst a veritable flood of “advances” in PCa diagnostics and clinical practice are reported every week, Public Health England and the National Screening Committee remain silent on PCa screening or repeat the outdated mantra that the “harms” of screening outweigh the benefits.

The Annual Conference of The National Federation of Prostate Cancer Support Groups (Tackle Prostate Cancer) in Birmingham on 13th June 2019 dealt directly with this problem under the Conference Title “Prostate Cancer:  To Screen or Not to Screen”.  A series of talks from organisations performing screening, an epidemiologist providing up-to-date information on the results of international PSA-based screening programmes, an expert GP and leading PCa charities (Box 1) provided a comprehensive, fact-based overview from which clear conclusions were drawn.  It should be emphasised that these conclusions are based on hard facts, not mere opinions.

World-renowned epidemiologist Professor Monique Roobol-Bouts from Erasmus University, Rotterdam presented compelling evidence from long-term screening programmes demonstrating 50% falls in PCa mortality.  She also showed how programmes can be constructed to target men at high risk whilst minimising testing for men at low risk, thus reducing to 100 the number of men needed to be screened to save one life.  From this the economic advantage of screening becomes clear.  This strategy has been adopted by the European Urological Association and was presented on 22/1/19 to the European Parliament as a recommendation to establish national PCa screening programmes.

In stark contrast Essex GP Dr Ann Williams’ presentation illustrated the problems facing GPs when a man asks for a PSA test (see Box 2).  It is clear that GPs would be unable to meet the standards required to provide a PCa screening programme, especially within the constraints of 10-minute appointments.

Conclusion
At the Tackle Prostate Cancer conference, a series of presentations dealt with all the current issues surrounding PSA and PCa screening. (Box 2).  Following this a coherent plan emerged to deal with the problem, key to which is a consensus that further screening “research” is unnecessary as the benefits of screening now massively outweigh the harms. For the reasons cited in Box 3, the UK should implement the introduction of a PSA-based screening programme as a national public priority.

Box 1  Participating Organisations

CHAPS Men’s Health Charity
Graham Fulford Charitable Trust
Orchid Male Cancer Charity
PCaSO
PROSTaid
Prostate Cancer Research Centre
Prostate Cancer UK
35 Prostate Cancer Patient Support Groups

Box 2     Perceived Problems with PSA-based PCa Screening 

  • PSA is not PCa specific
  • PSA may be negative when PCa is present
  • PSA may be positive when PCa is not present
  • Access to PSA testing is inconsistent
  • PCRMP* does not provide clear guidance on PSA use
  • GP knowledge of PCRMP and counselling is inconsistent
  • Interpretation of PSA results is inconsistent
  • PSA cannot differentiate between aggressive and non-aggressive  PCa
  • GPs receive insufficient urological training in general and PCa training in particular
  • GPs have insufficient time within a 10-minute consultation to counsel men adequately on PSA screening
  • GPs have not been updated on the benefits of PSA screening
  • GPs continue to receive outdated information on the “harms” of PSA screening
  • Screening for common cancers in the UK is organised centrally, unlike for  PCa

 *PCRMP:  Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme

Box 3      Towards Prostate Cancer Screening

  • PSA remains for the foreseeable future the only viable front-line screening test.
  • PSA-based PCa screening programmes from Europe and North America are consistently showing a 50% or more reduction in PCa mortality.
  • The “harm” of over-diagnosis has been largely addressed by use of risk profiling, second line markers and mpMRI prior to any decision on biopsy.
  • The “harm” of over-treatment has been addressed by the introduction and safety of Active Surveillance for low risk PCa.  The current UK over-treatment rate is at least as low as 4%. (5th National Prostate Cancer Audit)
  • There are good screening models available for implementation; we do not have to reinvent the wheel.
  • GPs do not have the training, knowledge, structure or time to implement a screening programme.
  • A screening programme must be centrally organised and run
  • A new “low tec” workforce based on the voluntary sector and current laboratories with specialist urological input is capable of running a PCa screening programme.
  • A risk-based screening programme ensures the right men are tested at the right frequency and over the right periods of time.
  • A risk-based programme ensures costs are minimised and numbers needed to screen to save a life are now reduced to a figure lower than all other cancer screening programmes.
  • The current costs of long-term chemotherapy for advanced disease by far outweigh the costs of a screening service.

Active Surveillance Awareness Video

Tackle Partner Member Orchid Male Cancer has produced a well-produced and informative video about Active Surveillance which features Tackle Chairman Roger Wotton.

More and more men will be being offered Active Surveillance as our ability to classify the aggressiveness of prostate cancer improves even further.

You can watch it here. The password is 5894.

Tackle Appoints new Trustee

Tackle is very pleased to announce the appointment of Alphonso Archer as a Trustee with immediate effect.

Alphonso spoke very eloquently about his prostate cancer story at the prostate cancer screening discussion we held in the House of Commons earlier this year. 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.

Alphonso is also an avid player of Walking Football and has had considerable success reaching the final of the People's Cup in 2018. Read the story here.

Alphonso said that he was "really looking forward to working with the the Board and all supporters to keep prostate cancer high on the agenda in all areas until this becomes a disease of less significance".

Chairman Roger Wotton said "I am delighted that Alphonso has joined us. No one could fail to be impressed with the passion and commitment he has for earlier diagnosis of prostate cancer".

Father’s Day cycling spin by South Warwickshire PCSG

South Warwickshire Prostate Cancer Support Group aimed to “tackle” Prostate Cancer with a Father’s Day and Save a Dad charity spin ride which was held at the Leisure Centre in Stratford-on-Avon on 16th June and raised over £1000.

The support Group joined Tackle Prostate Cancer’s Cycle to the Moon, Save a Dad campaign, a major fundraising initiative that will encourage people of all ages to get on their bicycles or motorbikes and raise awareness and funds to fight against prostate cancer.

The ride was organised by Doug Badger, the chairman of the South Warwickshire Prostate Cancer Support Group and many of those riding are members of the group and their families and friends. The group focuses on supporting those whose lives have been changed by prostate cancer. The group meet at The Shakespeare Hospice, Shottery and wives and partners are welcome to attend. The group is supported by the specialist nurses from the Urology Department at Warwick Hospital.

Doug Badger said: "Save a Dad on Father’s Day. Survival rates for Prostate Cancer are still worsening. We urgently need a reliable screening programme to pick up aggressive cancers at an earlier stage. Tackle is the prostate cancer patient's voice - help us make the government hear that voice."

Cycle to the Moon is a chance for members of the public to show their support through their cycling on the roads, in the gym, at home or on outdoor trails. The campaign was first launched in 2018 and received an overwhelming response from the public. This year, Tackle are building off the success from last year and working towards their goal to raise £250,000, £1 for every mile to the moon. In addition to raising funds the campaign also aims to encourage men at risk of prostate cancer to get tests and earlier diagnosis.

Doug Badger added: There were 16 of us saddled up at 11am and our instructor Helena kept us at it for the next 45 minutes. Collectively we covered 187 miles in that time so you can see that we were working hard - there were hills involved! I would like to thank the following group members and relatives for turning out on the day Krys, Claire, Steve, Pat, Jill, Katie, Malcolm, Ian and Tristram. Thanks also to our supporters club especially the Little Budds ! Commiserations to Mike and Graham who were prevented from taking part on the day by injuries. We had six volunteers from the Leisure Centre taking part, including our instructor's father John Cope. The choice of Father’s Day proved to be inspired. Some who were spinning were doing so in memory of their fathers and others were doing it as a contribution to supporting their fathers who are living with prostate cancer. And many of us were doing it to prove to ourselves that we still could get on our bikes, prostate cancer and other health conditions notwithstanding!”

The Stratford Spinners!

Support Tackle on Father's Day - Let's Save a Dad

Tackle's fundraising campaign Cycle to the Moon is in full swing this year as we target £250,000 - £1 for every mile to the moon. Many thanks for all the supporters who have joined us this year (see, for example, what South Warwickshire PCSG are doing on Father's Day) and also to the motorbiking community who have joined us on our Bike to the Moon campaign.

We're asking everybody to support us this Father's Day in any way they can and help us #SaveDad. Please watch this short video and join in.

Can you help with a survey?

Can you help with a survey investigating the physical and psychological impact of prostate cancer? Whether you've been diagnosed or not. As a thank you, you could win a voucher worth £70.

It only takes 20 to 30 minutes. Participate in the survey here.

Prostate Peddlers inaugural Open Day

Tackle Prostate Cancer member group the Prostate Peddlers have produced a video of their inaugural Open Day in Hertfordshire. Looks like it was a great day and an inspiration for us all to get on our bikes! It does you the power of good!

Watch the video here.

Tackle 2019 AGM & Conference - Prostate Cancer: To Screen or Not to Screen

Members are now invited to register for this year's AGM & Conference taking place on Thursday 13 June 2019 at Hornton Grange, 53 Edgbaston Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2RS - the same venue as last year.
 
The theme for the Conference this year is Prostate Cancer: To Screen or Not to Screen and we have lined up some excellent speakers.

For full details of the provisional timetable and how to register, click here.

We look forward to seeing you!

Cycle to the Moon launch attracts great media coverage

Our 2019 launch of Tackle's fundraising campaign Cycle to the Moon, now expanded to include bikers using Bike to the Moon, has attracted some excellent media coverage:

The Rooftop News

Bradford Telegraph & Argus

Exquisite Concierge

British Motorcyclists Federation

Dorset Echo

Wheels within Wales

Are you getting on your bike this year? Come on, let's Save a Dad!

European Assoc of Urology propose PSA Screening for Prostate Cancer

Prof. Van Poppel from Belgium discusses the European Association of Urology's policy papers proposing the need to reconsider structured population-based PSA screening for prostate cancer.

Watch the video on YouTube.

Observations on the National Prostate Cancer Audit 2018

Steve Allen, a prostate cancer patient who represents Tackle on various clinical matters eg NICE, reviews the findings of the 2018 National Prostate Cancer Audit in England and Wales.

The Audit is prepared by a team of clinicians, audit experts and cancer information specialists based at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the British Association of Urological Surgeons and the British Uro-oncology Group.  Its findings are entirely independent and are generally regarded as the most recent and reliable source of information on current practice and outcomes related to the treatment of prostate cancer.

The latest report (NPCA Annual Report 2018) was published in February 2019 and is the fifth year that such a report has been published. At 62 pages, it is very detailed. A patient summary is expected to be published soon.

Below are some of the main facts that come from the Report.  My personal comments are added in italics.

Patient characteristics: (Data for England quoted.  Data for Wales fairly similar)

42,975 men diagnosed with PCa   (41,739 in 2015/16)

12% men aged under 60 yrs

33% men aged 60 – 70

37% men aged 70 – 80

17% men over 80 yrs of age

Great efforts are being made to raise awareness of PCa in men over the age of 50.  However, the statistics above represent the numbers of men actually diagnosed.  What they do not show is how many in each group were actually tested.  It is possible that many men in the lower age range were tested but that no cancers were found. 

Overall, prostate cancer remains a cancer of the older man but one where diagnosis in younger men is increasing – an age group where side effects of treatment and adverse events can have devastating consequences on quality of life.

There is still a large number of men being diagnosed over the age of 80 despite the consensus opinion that PSA testing is not always appropriate in this age group.

The report does not identify the severity of disease diagnosed in each age group.  It would be interesting to know if younger men coming for PSA testing were more likely to present with more aggressive disease than other age groups.  My perception from involvement with many support groups is exactly that:  younger, often asymptomatic, men seem to be diagnosed with more aggressive disease than in older age groups.  But, of course, perception is not always reality.

Stage of cancer at diagnosis:

Data was available in 94% patients diagnosed:

16% had metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis

39% had locally advanced disease

3% mixture of above

35% had intermediate disease

7% had low risk disease

These figures are similar to those in the previous year’s report.

It would appear that men are still not being diagnosed early enough.  Only 7% had low risk disease, 58% had metastatic or locally advanced disease. We cannot afford to reduce our efforts at raising awareness of PCa.

The earlier PCa is diagnosed , the better the clinical outcome.

It has been estimated that the cost of early ‘curative’ treatment is €15,000 compared with €300,000 for the long term treatment of advanced disease.

Use of Multiparametric MRI (mpMRI):

This continues to increase.  58% of all scans performed were mpMRI. 

In England, 80% of all of these mpMRI scan were performed before biopsy.   (Figures for Wales show only 41%)

Tackle, along with other groups, have championed the use of mpMRI earlier in the diagnostic pathway and before biopsy.  This is now undoubtedly coming into routine use.  It is now supported in the recently updated NICE Guideline for PCa.

Use of prostate biopsy:

Trans-rectal ultrasound guided (TRUS) biopsy remains the most common technique used.  There appear to be  differences in practice in England and Wales – however the data for England was only available for 54% of patients diagnosed, 100% in Wales but where the overall total numbers were very much lower

England                                           Wales

88%                TRUS                        96%

12%                Trans-Perineal         4%

Template biopsy giving multiple samples is perhaps the commonest reason for using the perineal approach.  It normally requires a general anaesthetic and may explain the low uptake.

With the increased use of mpMRI and the more accurate localisation of tumour tissue within the prostate, the use of the trans-perineal route for targeted biopsies may well increase in the future.

Arguably the trans-perineal biopsy route may have a lower incidence of adverse events than the trans-rectal route.  In a few centres, trans-perineal sampling (not a full template biopsy) may be performed under local anaesthesia.  The current data for England is split equally between template biopsy and trans-perineal sampling.

Are we improving the treatment of patients?

Low-risk disease:

4% men ‘over-treated’ 1916 /17

8% men ‘over-treated’ 1915/16

A major cause for concern in raising awareness of PCa and increasing the uptake of PSA testing has always been the possibility of over-diagnosis and over-treatment.  The latest figures show a continuing downward trend of this occurring and demonstrates the accuracy and efficacy of the diagnostic pathway in current use.

Locally advanced disease:

33% men ‘under-treated’ 1916/17

27% men ‘under-treated’ 1915/16

‘Under-treatment’ is suggested here when men with locally advanced disease are treated with ADT (hormone) therapy alone rather than combined with additional radiotherapy or surgery.  Under-treatment’ would appear to be more common in older, otherwise healthy, men.

Surgical techniques used:

As one might expect, robotically assisted surgery is now overwhelmingly the most common type of radical prostatectemy performed.

England                                            Wales

   81%             Robotic                       63%

    9%              Laparoscopic              4%

  10%              Open                            23%

The data were collected from April 2016 to March 2017.  It is likely that more procedures will now be being performed using robotic assistance as surgical experience increases. It is too early to have data comparing the number of procedures performed using the newer ‘Cave of Retzius Sparing’ technique.

However, there will always be patients for whom open surgery is required because of medical or technical reasons.

Radiotherapy:

The vast majority of all external beam radiotherapy now uses Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT).

90% (England) and 100% (Wales) patients were treated using IMRT. 

For this Audit, no specific data were recorded for treatment involving brachytherapy.

The older 3D-conformal technique is likely to disappear as older radiotherapy equipment is phased out. This should potentially further reduce the incidence of both short-term adverse events and longer-term ones now being identified from treatment given many years previously. 

The use of shorter courses of treatment which use higher doses at each session (hypo-fractionated radiotherapy) may well be increasing but this is not captured in the Audit.

Estimation of Quality of Life

Information was obtained from a Patient Survey sent by the NPCA to men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer from 1st April 2015 to 30th September 2016.  (This is a slightly different time period to that used for data collection from hospital and other records for other parts of the Audit).

Of 35.162 surveys sent out, results were obtained from 25.490 men – a response rate of 73%

Estimations of quality of life were measured using Patient Reported Experience Measures (PREMs) and Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs).

Overall Experience:

90% men said they were given ‘the right amount of information’ concerning their condition and treatment

72% men felt they were involved as much as they wanted in decision making

83% were given the name of a Clinical Nurse Specialist

89% men rated their overall care as 8/10 or above

These are undoubtedly good results – and perhaps better than some of us closely involved with support groups and their members might have expected.  (But support groups by their very nature will attract more people who have experienced problems than those who have not).

However, we should not become complacent.  23% patients did not complete the survey and the figures are incomplete.  It could, perhaps, be argued that these non-responders overall rated their treatment experience highly.  Are those who have with problems more likely to respond than those who have not and will this subsequently influence the overall results?

Side effects / Adverse events:

No treatment for prostate cancer is without the potential for side effects or adverse events.

Of the 25,490 men who responded: 

23% treated with radical prostatectemy  (at 56 surgical centres)

44% treated with External beam Radiotherapy  (at 55 Radiotherapy centres)

Outcome measures were scored on a 0 – 100 scale  (0 bad to 100 good)

After Radical Prostatectemy:

Mean continence score                71 / 100

Mean sexual function score       23 / 100

After External Beam Radiotherapy:

Mean Bowel function score        85 / 100

Mean sexual function score       17 / 100

These are overall estimations of a few outcome measures and only in two treatments used. They evaluate the current status of the patient and do not specifically compare that with how the patients were prior to their treatment.  One assumes a number of patients would not have always scored 100 / 100 on each measure prior to their treatment. However, the Audit uses a well validated questionnaire giving reliable data which allows comparison to be made from one Audit Report to another, and between different forms of treatment.

In Conclusion…….

The full report contains a vast amount of information and I have only highlighted some of the major points that I feel the most relevant for patients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health Secretary Needs Prostate Screening

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health, announced today that he is at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer after taking a DNA test. Chris Booth of Tackle's Clinical Advisory Board commented:

"So, the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, has discovered he has a genetic predisposition to develop Prostate Cancer (PCa).Without more clinical information, particularly Matt Hancock’s family history of PCa on the male side and breast cancer on the female side, it is difficult to comment on his individual case. However, we do know that about 10% of men presenting with PCa, particularly those presenting at a “younger” age in their 50s and 60s have a familial genetic predisposition to develop PCa. Such men need to know the risk and to be in a screening programme for PCa from their 40s. At present the only freely available NHS test to do this is the simple blood test Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). Though it is not a perfect test, it is entirely adequate to screen such men and until a better test arrives, men at risk should have a PSA test every year or two from their 40s to age 70.

Unfortunately 90% of men who develop  PCa in the UK have no known risk factors.  In the UK PCa is diagnosed in 47,000 new cases and kills nearly 12,000 men every year – more now than breast cancer where the death rate is falling whilst for PCa it is rising! In all the countries using PSA routinely to screen for PCa the death rate has fallen by about a half  but there has been no comparable fall in the UK where our cure rates for PCa lag well behind our European neighbours. Despite the availability of PSA and  NHS Guidelines that clearly entitle men over 50 to have PSA tests, over a half of newly diagnosed cases in the UK have advanced, incurable PCa.

In the UK the previous disadvantages of PSA use (so-called "overdiagnosis and overtreatment") have been virtually eliminated by advances in specialist diagnosis and treatment of PCa over the last 5 years.  GPs need to know this and also be aware that in Europe numerous clinical studies on PSA screening  are showing that when used properly for appropriate and fully informed men, PSA screening can halve the death rate from this thoroughly unpleasant cancer now killing one UK man every 45 minutes!

It is now up to UK men to be aware of the risk this commonest of all male cancers poses and GPs to use PSA proactively according to our existing NHS  entitlement.”

High Peak PCSG promotion during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Former Tackle Trustee Mike Harrison, who founded High Peak PCSG in Derbyshire back in 2010, featured in the Buxton Advertiser as part of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. He also recorded an interview with High Peak Radio.

UK cannot continue to overlook prostate cancer

Janani Krishnaswamy, who attended the recent prostate screening discussion in the House of Commons co-hosted by Tackle, writes in Government Gazette that the UK can no longer continue to overlook prostate cancer. Read the full story.

Shepway Veterans take on the 3 Peaks Challenge in aid of Tackle

Shepway Veterans, a group of men over 45 are taking on the challenge of a lifetime; to climb the 3 highest peaks in the UK, starting with Ben Nevis in Scotland, then onto Scafell Pike in England and finishing with Snowdon in North Wales raising awareness and funds for Tackle Prostate Cancer.

Back in August 2017 Alistair Hammond from Folkestone - founder of Shepway Veterans - lost his father-in-law, Graham, to prostate cancer. This left a huge hole in his family’s life, but it also made his family so much more aware of the issues that face men and the very real need to do something to help and make a difference.

Alistair decided he wanted to help so, after talking to some close friends, he hatched a plan to form a group of over 45-year-olds who all live in or around the Shepway area and "Shepway Veterans" was created. Made up of a group of seven men  from all walks of life, all have a connection with men’s cancers, loved ones lost and battling the disease and one of the team is a survivor.

Alistair said: “After my father-in-law was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and sadly lost his fight in 2017, I formed a group of friends called the 'Shepway Veterans' who all have similar stories - one is a survivor -t o do something to support the ongoing search for a cure for all cancers. We recognised Tackle Prostate as the perfect charitable partner to support because it helps dads, families and friends and is one of the smaller national charities that help raise awareness of men's cancer, so everyone gets the help they need. The team are determined to raise as much money and raise awareness in the fight to save men’s lives.”

Alistair’s wife and sister took part in The National 3 Peaks Challenge - 3 Peaks in 24 hours - back in 2018. This inspired him and his fellow Shepway Veterans to endeavour to complete each climb in a fast time (comparable to the 24 hour times), but they will tackle each mountain on a new day, so 3 Peaks in 3 days.

Alistair commented: Well, it might not be over 24 hours, but we will climb each peak with speed and the endurance required for a fast ascent/descent and then contend with the aching limbs each day thereafter. It is a challenge nonetheless and each of the Shepway Veterans wants to achieve the climb as a personal journey and to challenge mind and body. Some of us are scared of heights and the thought of climbing not 1, not 2 but 3 of the highest peaks in the UK is quite scary and daunting.”

Roger Wotton chairman of Tackle Prostate Cancer said: "We know how devastating the diagnosis of prostate cancer can be.  By raising awareness and funds we will hopefully see more men being tested earlier, and help accelerate a reduction in mortality figures. Prostate cancer doesn’t just affect the man diagnosed – it affects his whole family. Shepway Veterans are a true inspiration to others and deserve all our support."

The group has received fantastic support from local company LIFElabs.io (LIFElabs) a Fintech blockchain company who will provide a facility for donations to be accepted in digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and LIFEtoken. LIFElabs have agreed to help sponsor aspects of the challenge and will match fund donations received up to £5,000. The Shepway Veterans hope they will raise £5,000 early on through fundraising support.

LIFElabs’ CMO, David Pugh-Jones commented: “We are extremely proud to sponsor Alistair and the Shepway Veteran’s team, supporting them in raising funds for the inspirational Tackle Prostate Cancer charity. As a company that has philanthropy and pioneering technology at its heart, it was a perfect opportunity for us to match fund donations and help build awareness of Prostate Cancer. We wish them the very best of luck in their endeavours later this year.”

Shepway Veterans are looking for additional sponsorship for equipment and help towards the costs of this expedition.

Alistair Hammond added: “We researched carefully and have decided to support Tackle Prostate Cancer. Through your support, our hard work and LIFElabs support, we will be able to track exactly where your donations will be going and what support takes place.”

To sponsor the Shepway Veterans, click here.

Tackle Co-hosts Prostate Cancer Screening Discussion at House of Commons

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".

Tackle wins Best Patient-Led Support Charity Award

We are delighted to win the Best Patient-Led Support Charity in the 2019 Social Care Awards.

Feb 2019 Prostate Matters published

The latest edition is now available on our website and, if you normally receive a printed version, this will be with you shortly. Please do let us know if you would like more or fewer copies.

This edition has articles about the following:

  • Kidderminster & Worcestershire PCSG set up a Men's ShedThe Big White Bus in Oxford
  • Prostate Cancer Survival in EnglandSpinning on Father's Day in Stratford-on-Avon
  • How Best to Use a Beer Mat

  • Keith Cass Raises Awareness of Prostate Cancer with his Unorthodox Funeral Plans
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Proton Beam Therapy Comes to the UK
  • Prostate Radiotherapy can Benefit Men whose Cancer has Spread
  • The Issue of Incontinence Pad Disposal

Researcher calls for national screening programme to tackle prostate cancer

Dr Sylvain Ladame, from Imperial College's Department of Bioengineering, presentshis research on how to diagnose and treat prostate cancer more effectively at the Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) seminar.

To find out more and see the presentation, click here.

Urgent action on prostate cancer screening needed

Europa Uomo - the organisation that is the voice of prostate cancer patients across Europe and which Tackle is a member of - has joined with European urological associations, scientific experts, policy makers and other patient organisations to call for national screening programmes for prostate cancer across Europe.

In a new policy paper, launched in the European Parliament with support from MEPs, the organisations say that the European Parliament and EU member states should ensure that the European Commission considers whether PSA-based screening should be implemented at European level.

The paper was issued jointly by Europa Uomo, Cancer Control Joint Action, the European Cancer Patient Coalition and the European Association of Urology (EAU) at a special event to mark European Prostate Cancer Awareness Day (EPAD). “The European Union can no longer continue to overlook the most common cause of cancer in men in Europe,” says the policy paper.

Chris Booth from our Clinical Advisory Group reports on the findings.

NICE Recommends MRI Scans for Suspected Prostate Cancer BEFORE Biopsy

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have issued Guideline CG175 stating that men with a raised PSA blood test who require further investigation to diagnose or rule out underlying prostate cancer (PCa) with a view to radical treatment should no longer  proceed directly to an invasive prostate biopsy but instead should be offered a multi-parametric MRI scan.

Clinical trials comparing mpMRI with standard ultrasound guided (TRUS) biopsy have shown that mpMRI is much more accurate in detecting PCa and that PCa seen on mpMRI is significant and usually needs treatment.  On the other hand when the mpMRI is normal, it is much less likely that a significant PCa is present.  Such patients can then safely wait on a closely supervised “Active Surveillance” programme.  About a third of patients presenting with a raised PSA but normal-feeling prostate can thus avoid an invasive TRUS biopsy.

There are however still some problems to overcome.

Firstly, GPs cannot order mpMRI scans and not all UK urology departments have appropriate MRI scanners.

Secondly, there is a shortage of radiologists trained to report mpMRI scans and reporting criteria have only just been standardised.

Thirdly, if a scan is normal, there may still be an underlying cancer present as it has been shown that half of such men placed on “Active Surveillance” subsequently develop signs of cancer progression and require active treatment.

Despite these caveats, this is a major step forward which virtually nullifies the argument that PSA screening for PCa leads to “over-diagnosis”.  Furthermore, now that Active Surveillance has become the standard UK management of insignificant, non-aggressive PCa, the “over-treatment” argument no longer carries much weight.  These historical arguments against screening now have to be weighed against the latest PCa screening evidence showing a 64% fall in PCa mortality in a screening programme involving over 400,000 men just reported from Northern California! ref

Although the UK has no formal screening programme, the Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme entitles UK men over the age of 50 to have a PSA test.  It also flags up those men who are at higher risk of PCa and who should unquestionably be in a screening programme from their 40s until at least their mid 70s:  men with a family history of PCa, or breast cancer on their female side, and black men of African or Caribbean heritage.

CHAPS Charity has contributed positively to this NICE guideline updated recommendation which will be published in April 2019.

Reference:    Alpert PF.  Urology. 2018; 118: 119-126

Tackle Trustee Keith Cass explains why he is selling tickets to his own funeral

Tackle Trustee Keith Cass' funeral will be different to most people's. He's selling tickets for it to raise awareness and funds for research into prostate cancer.

Read more about this and listen to Keith talk about his idea on ITV.

Blue November in Italy is a new prostate cancer awareness campaign

Europa Uomo is promoting Blue November, Italy’s first prostate cancer awareness campaign, with the slogan: “Shine a light on yourself”.

They have decided to use art as a powerful means of instantly getting a message across about men’s health, by shining blue lights on male nude statues.

To find out more about the numerous initiatives, please take a look at www.novembreazzurro.it which is available in both English and Italian.

Tackle supports Stephen Fry Appeal for more research into advanced prostate cancer

BBC Radio 4 Appeal

Here is a note for your listening diary!  On Sunday 16th December at 07.55 repeated on Thursday 20th December at 15.27  please tune in to hear the Stephen Fry and Martin Dallison appeal asking for more research into advanced prostate cancer.   This is being organised by the Prostate Cancer Research Centre, with whom we will be working more closely going forward. 

The attached pdf gives more details.  If you would like paper copies of the appeal please email Sonja at slawrence@prostate-cancer-research.org.uk

Prostate cancer: A wake-up call for men

Tackle Chairman Roger Wotton has an article published on the Open Access Government website discussing whether men should be screened for prostate cancer.

Read it here.

From death's door to the all-clear from Prostate Cancer

Michael English is living evidence that we may finally have discovered a powerful secret to beating cancer. Astonishingly, this long-sought answer lies hidden inside our own bodies.

Read the full story in the Daily Mail.

Prostate breakthrough with simple blood test could spare thousands of men from surgery and radiotherapy

Necrotising Fasciitis (flesh-eating bug) after routine Prostate Surgery

Gel implant can spare prostate patients the side-effects of radiotherapy

A new treatment for prostate cancer uses a gel implant to stop healthy cells being damaged by radiotherapy. Gordon Robinson, 70, a former electrical wholesaler, from Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, was one of the first UK patients to be given it.

Read the full report in the Daily Mail.

New drug that unleashes the body's immune system could eradicate 'ultra-mutant' tumours in men with drug-resistant prostate cancer

Men with aggressive drug-resistant prostate cancer could see their tumours eradicated by a new treatment.

Read the full report in the Daily Mail.

Inspirational Woman From Yorkshire Dales Raises over £400 at a Bag Packing Day at Tesco Store in Skipton

29 year-old Kayleigh Davies from Skipton is one determined lady. To raise awareness for Tackle Prostate Cancer, she organised a bag pack day at the Tesco store in Craven Street in Skipton last weekend raising over £400.

In total she has now raised over £2,122 and still has lots more fundraising events and swims to go as well as organising a Charity Ball on 13 October in Skipton. Kayleigh has been inspired by two of her father's friends who have prostate cancer to raise awareness.

Tackle Prostate Cancer is a patient-led charity addressing the real issues people face when they are diagnosed with prostate cancer, and helping people to cope with their diagnosis and treatment. As a National Federation, Tackle has 90 support groups across the country, representing some 15,000 members.

Kayleigh said: "I am organising a ball and doing swims for Tackle Prostate Cancer because I have seen the effects of this disease. Men are dying daily because they are not routinely checked by GPs for prostate cancer."

In June Kayleigh attempted to swim the English Channel as part of a four person relay team. Up until two years ago Kayleigh could hardly swim as she suffers from an auto-immune condition, which means she is in constant pain as well as making her prone to chest infections. Kayleigh was diagnosed with sarcoidosis when she was eight years old which can affect any part of the body.

Kayleigh has taken part in open water swims throughout the summer including a 5K swim in London and the Dee swim.

Kayleigh added: "I have personally seen the effects of this devastating disease as it has affected friends and family and believe that it is important that we do everything that we can to fight and 'tackle' the illness."

Tackle have recently launched their inaugural national cycling event ‘Cycle to the Moon, Save a Dad’ – a major fundraising initiative that will encourage people of all ages to get on their bikes and raise awareness and  money for the fight against prostate cancer.

Cycle to the Moon is a chance for members of the public to show their support through their cycling miles either on the roads, in the gym, at home or on outdoor trails. The event is open to all ages regardless of ability. It is designed to be a fun, healthy activity raising funds on behalf of Tackle Prostate Cancer as well as encouraging the next generation to participate. It also aims to raise awareness and encourage men at risk of prostate cancer to get tests and earlier diagnosis. The campaign’s target is £250,000 –  £1 for every mile between Earth and the Moon.

Prostate cancer is now a bigger killer than breast cancer, making prostate cancer the third biggest cancer killer in the UK. Every penny Kayleigh raises will make a difference, lives will be saved and more people will be aware of the need to be tested. The money will help the charity continue to meet its objectives of campaigning on behalf of patients and raising awareness in the community.

Kayleigh has set up a Just Giving page and Facebook page for her swims.

Roger Wotton chairman of Tackle Prostate Cancer says: "We know how devastating the diagnosis of prostate cancer can be. Raising awareness will hopefully see more men being tested earlier, and help accelerate a reduction in mortality figures. Prostate cancer doesn’t just affect the man diagnosed – it affects his whole family." Kayleigh is a true inspiration to others she and she deserves all our support. Go girl!"

Kayleigh added: "I would swim all around the world to make a difference and help raise awareness."

To sponsor the Kayleigh's swimming challenge visit http://www.justgiving.com/kayleigh-davies6?utm_id=124

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