13 July 2020

Expert group calls for action to make prostate cancer a priority

The impact of COVID-19 is likely to affect men with prostate cancer disproportionately, increasing the challenges they already face, according to a new analysis by the Let’s Talk Prostate Cancer campaign, with representation from Europa Uomo.

According to an expert group assembled by the campaign, early data suggests that older men, and especially those from a Black and minority ethnic backgrounds, are more likely to die from COVID-19. This is the same population that is most likely to be impacted by prostate cancer.

Already, it says, prostate cancer is increasingly diagnosed at an advanced stage, with those affected often experiencing health inequalities, stigma and health system failures resulting in poor patient outcomes.

Under COVID-19, many men are delaying seeking help from health services when they have signs and symptoms of prostate cancer because they are worried about increasing their infection risk. The pandemic is also causing delays in diagnosis and treatment and disruption of ongoing support and monitoring. An article about the expert group's findings has been published this week in The Parliament Magazine, highlighting the issues to European politicians and policy makers.

Let’s Talk Prostate Cancer is a pan-European initiative – organised and funded by Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd – bringing together representatives of stakeholder organisations from the EU prostate cancer community. The report has been put together by an expert group including André Deschamps from Europa Uomo and representatives from the European Oncology Nursing Society, the European Cancer Patient Coalition, The European Association of Urology Nurses and the European Association of Urology.

The expert group recommends that healthcare institutions across Europe should innovate across the prostate cancer pathway to:

  • Increase care provision in primary care (as opposed to hospitals)
  • Introduce remote consultations for patients
  • Implement new technologies for surveillance and monitoring.

“We are calling on European policy makers to make prostate cancer a priority and to work with EU institutions to give Member States the tools, guidance and incentives to ensure they have the best possible prostate cancer plan for their country," say the experts in the Parliament Magazine article.

The full expert group report is available here.