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Incidence of prostate cancer

In 2019, 47,479 diagnoses of prostate cancer were registered in England. According to the NHS, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among males and makes up 28% of all male cancer diagnoses.

Of those diagnosed in 2019, three-quarters were aged 65 or above. Prostate cancer is most common among ages 65-74. Only 1% of those diagnosed were aged under 50.

Referrals and waiting times – the effect of the pandemic

When a GP suspects that a patient has cancer, they can submit an urgent referral for the patient to be seen by a specialist. The target is that 93% of these referrals should be seen within two weeks. This is known as a “two week wait pathway”.

Data isn’t available specifically for prostate cancer referrals. But there is a wider category for “urological cancers (excluding testicular)”.

The number of GP referrals for suspected urological malignancies was down 21% in 2020 compared with 2019. This fall was focused on April and May 2020, when referrals were 55-60% lower than their level in the same part of 2019.

In 2021, the total number of referrals was similar to 2019. However, by the end of 2021, the number of monthly referrals had risen above pre-pandemic levels by around 10%.

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