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Men's Healthcare Q3 2022

Mobile cancer checks have great potential to save more men’s lives

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Professor Nick James

Professor of Prostate and Bladder Cancer Research, The Institute of Cancer Research, London and Consultant Clinical Oncologist, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

Diagnosing prostate cancer earlier in communities underserved by healthcare requires innovative solutions. One solution brings health checks straight to men in their workplaces and communities.


It’s said that cancer doesn’t discriminate, but actually — it does. People from poorer backgrounds are diagnosed later, have less access to the most innovative treatments and are less likely to survive.

Mobile health clinics

In prostate cancer — the most common male cancer in the UK — the challenges are compounded because the disease is most common among Black men, and they can often belong to communities that are underserved by traditional healthcare.

The opportunity to change the outlook for men with prostate cancer is in improving early detection rates. However, we know many men go several years without seeing a healthcare professional, and the early signs of prostate cancer and other key health problems may go undetected until they have reached a late stage.

The Man Van — developed by The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, RM Partners and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, with support from The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity — is a mobile health clinic aiming to overcome the barriers men face in accessing healthcare by delivering it to their workplaces and the community.

The pilot programme will determine whether the mobile health clinic can boost early diagnosis of prostate cancer and other issues that often affect men, including bladder cancer, diabetes and hypertension.

The opportunity to change the outlook for men with prostate cancer is in improving early detection rates.

Reaching underserved groups

We are starting with men who are at higher risk of being diagnosed late. Men working in manual jobs often find it difficult to see a GP due to long hours and regular changes in work locations. The van has visited construction companies across London to provide employees with health checks on site.

We also partner with various churches around London to better reach the Black community. Black men have roughly twice the risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, partly due to genetics.

We must ensure at-risk men have the opportunity to get a health check so that any early signs of cancer can be investigated and treated as early as possible.

Help more men survive prostate cancer

We need to come up with better solutions to improve healthcare access for men. We’re hopeful that by bringing healthcare straight to underserved men in their workplaces and communities, we can boost early detection rates of male cancers and help them live long and healthy lives after diagnosis.

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