Skip header navigation

New study will help services plan for predicted increase in prostate cancer diagnoses in Scotland

Back to news

A study by the University of Stirling is mapping out prostate cancer service provision in Scotland to identify which services will be required to cope with a forecasted 35 per cent increase in patients.

The research, which is being conducted in partnership with charity Prostate Scotland, will map out what services need to be in place to meet the challenge of the predicted increase in men being diagnosed with prostate cancer over the next 10 years.

Dr Liz Forbat, Reader and Co-Director of the Cancer Care Research Centre within the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health at the University, is leading the project. She said: “In the next few years there will be a significant increase in the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer. There is a need to have services in place to support men and their partners, and that is what our research is looking into – what services exist, what works well, what improvements may need to be made and where there may be gaps.

“For example, hospitals may need to work out how to cope with increased numbers of patients requiring follow up appointments. Many men may also require surgery, so we need to ensure there are enough trained surgeons, and sophisticated equipment to help ensure the best possible outcomes. We are looking at the breadth and depth of health care that will need to be in place.”

The predicted increase has been linked UK’s ageing population. Dr Forbat said: “The average age of prostate cancer diagnosis is 68 and we have a large baby-boomer generation who are approaching that age. There is also an increased use of the PSA blood test which measures a protein produced by the prostate gland. Men having this test sometimes go on to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. While the PSA test is not specific enough to be used as a routine screening tool for this type of cancer, it does sometimes identify prostate cancer.”  

Dr Forbat explained that prostate cancer is unlike other cancers in that some men can live with the disease for decades, whereas for other men treatment will be required urgently.

She added: “Men will need these health care and support services. Lives could be saved if plans are put into place early for adequate service provision.”

Alan McNeill, Trustee of Prostate Scotland and Consultant Urological Surgeon, is supporting the study. He stated: “This study will not only give a view as to the future need for services and likely treatment methods for men with prostate cancer, but may also help shape solutions to these issues and how to encourage earlier diagnosis of prostate cancer. The benefit of early diagnosis is that it can often lead to greater chances of treatment and cure.  Prostate disease and cancer is often a taboo subject for discussion and awareness levels are still too low – we are looking to the research to help find the key to unlock what might enable more early presentation, in order to save further lives.”

Mr McNeill added:  “We have seen improvements in Scotland over the past ten years in the survival rate of men from prostate cancer– however this research will be vital to providing a roadmap to meeting the challenge of the expected increase in the incidence in prostate cancer in the coming decade by providing answers as to how to maintain the progress and increase the numbers of men surviving prostate cancer.”  


Notes to editors:

To arrange an interview with Dr Liz Forbat please call Lesley Wilkinson in the University’s Public Relations Office on 01786 466203 or

About Prostate cancer and disease
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer amongst men in Scotland, with a lifetime chance of one in twelve in developing it. Over the past 20 years the number of men surviving prostate cancer has doubled and survival rates are now 80%. However, prostate disease is one of the most common diseases to affect men.  Benign Prostatitic Hyperplasia is the non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate and can affect nearly half of all men over the age of 50. Projections by the NHS show that the diagnosis of men with prostate cancer is likely to rise by up to 35% between now and 2020 (Cancer in Scotland:  Sustaining Change - Cancer Incidence Projections for Scotland (2006-2020); and Better Cancer Care– Scottish Government 2008 p10).   

University of Stirling
Stirling’s research is recognised as world-class. The School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health  leads the way in key areas of health and healthcare research affecting individuals and society. The School is one of the UK’s premier research schools, working with partners to provide high quality clinically-relevant research internationally to improve health and inform in nursing, midwifery and other health professional practice.

Cancer Care Research Centre
The Cancer Care Research Centre (CCRC) was set up in 2003 so people affected by cancer could help shape the future of cancer services in Scotland. It is the only UK research centre which looks solely at cancer care from the viewpoint of people affected by cancer, putting patients and their family members at the centre of the work of the CCRC. Findings from research carried out by the CCRC are fed into practice networks and clinical settings, offering recommendations for improving practice in health and social care organisations within the NHS, social services and charities.

Prostate Scotland
Prostate Scotland was set up in 2006 as a Scottish charity to develop awareness of prostate disease, to support men and their families/ partners with the disease through providing advice and information and to advance treatment and research into prostate disease. Its aim is to reach out across Scotland to create greater awareness amongst men and their families/partners about prostate disease and to advance treatment. It also provides a wide range of information about prostate disease and treatments for men and their families across Scotland and has established an award winning website In 2010 the charity won a national award for its impact on community health. Prostate Scotland is a registered Scottish charity No: SC037494

You may also be interested in