Nearly as many men die from prostate cancer as women die from breast cancer. We accept that the age profile of men dying from prostate cancer is older than the age profile of women dying from breast cancer, but if the age-related situations were reversed, would we say that older women dying of breast cancer in huge numbers should mean that public spending shouldn’t be committed to a national breast cancer screening programme?
Of course we wouldn’t.
We’ve just had a response from the Department of Health to our recent FoI request concerning screening for gender-specific cancers – here. We learn that approximately the following sums are being spent annually on national screening programmes for cancer. The cancers – other than bowel cancer – are gender-specific:
Cervical cancer: £150 million
Breast cancer: £100 million
Bowel cancer: £100 million
Prostate cancer: £0.00
There are, of course, no national screening programmes for prostate cancer – or any other male-specific cancers. Are men being ignored, then? Certainly not. We learn:
Work is in progress to deliver a local pilot to raise awareness of prostate cancer in black men due to their higher risk of developing the disease.
Well, that’s all right, then.
£250 million is being spent annually on national screening programmes for female-specific cancers, and not a penny on national screening programmes for male-specific cancers.