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UK’s biggest prostate cancer screening trial to begin next year

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The trial will be backed by £42 million from the government and Prostate Cancer UK

The government has joined hands with Prostate Cancer UK to launch a massive screening trial in the country next year.

Called TRANSFORM, the trial will use innovative screening methods like an MRI scan to detect prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer in men in the UK.

The trail is scheduled for launch in Spring 2024, and recruitment is likely to begin in Autumn 2024.

For the £42 million trial, the government will invest £16 million through the National Institute of Health Research, and £26m will be provided by Prostate Cancer UK.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) believes that thousands of men’s lives could be saved each year if prostate cancer is detected early with effective screening methods.

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said: “Cancer survival rates continue to improve in the UK, with the disease being diagnosed at an earlier stage more often. But more must be done.

“Our hope is that this funding will help to save the lives of thousands more men through advanced screening methods that can catch prostate cancer as early as possible.”

Laura Kerby, Chief Executive at Prostate Cancer UK, highlighted that each year, 12,000 men die in the UK due to prostate cancer that “doesn’t have a national screening programme.”

TRANSFORM will be the organisation’s “biggest and most ambitious trial ever” and it will “save thousands of men each year.”

“Prostate Cancer UK’s unique focus and expertise made us the only organisation that could really deliver this paradigm-shifting trial, and we’re delighted that the government has backed our vision to revolutionise diagnosis,” she added.

Black men have higher prostate cancer risk

More black men will be invited to participate in the trial, as they are twice more likely to develop prostate cancer than other men.

The DHSC statement read: “1 in 4 black men will develop prostate cancer – double the risk of other men. Therefore, to ensure the trial helps reduce their risk of dying from this disease, 1 in 10 men invited to participate will be black men.”

Men aged 50-75 can participate in the screening trial, with black men eligible from the lower age range of 45-75.

Those at higher risk of prostate cancer due to age and ethnicity will be recruited through their GP practice and invited to a screening visit.

On average, over 52,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the UK, which equals 144 men every day.

Usually, this type of cancer shows no symptoms until it has grown large and become more difficult to treat.

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