At a major conference on prostate cancer yesterday, Dr Chris Parker from The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden Hospital, will deplore the lack of clinical trials for men with the disease. "Every year 32, 000 British men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK. But because of a legacy of under-investment in prostate cancer clinical trials in the past, we now know less about the best way of treating patients compared with many other cancers."

At the conference, organised by the Royal Society of Medicine in association with The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Prostate Cancer Charter for Action, Dr Parker will be announcing one of the largest trials ever run for men with prostate cancer. RADICALS is a new study for men who have had their prostate removed because of cancer. It will be open to recruitment later this summer, UK wide.

Surgery to remove the prostate is one of the most common treatments for men with the earlier stages of the disease. This is called "radical prostatectomy" and there are about 5,000 such operations in the UK annually.

It is standard practice after surgery for other common cancers to give extra treatment such as radiotherapy or drug therapy. "In the case of prostate cancer," says Dr Parker, Chief Investigator of the trial "We don't know whether extra treatment should be given routinely after the operation. This study will tell us. Men who are due to have surgery for prostate cancer should expect their doctor to talk with them about joining the trial after the operation. "

RADICALS will recruit over 4,000 men from all over the UK and from Canada. The trial will be run by the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit, London, and is funded by Cancer Research UK.

There are many thousands of men who have had a radical prostatectomy in the past few years and who are having their PSA measured regularly. (The PSA - or Prostate-Specific Antigen - is a marker for the disease in diagnosed men.)

"If the PSA starts to rise and they need radiotherapy, these men should also expect their doctor to talk with them about the RADICALS trial," said Chris Parker, "joining the RADICALS trial should be a standard of care."

Dr Chris Hiley, The Prostate Charity's Head of Policy and Research said: "We need more information about the best timing and delivery of both radiotherapy and hormone therapy for men who might need it. The results of this trial will help reduce unnecessary side effects in men who do not need more intense treatment whilst offering the most aggressive treatments to men who do."

Event: Medicine and Me: Prostate Cancer Research will be held on Monday, 16th July 2007, at the Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, London, W1G 0AE and is open to journalists and photographers to attend.

The day is split into two halves. Bench to Bedside: prostate cancer in the morning. This is a scientific meeting aimed at urologists, oncologists and research scientists which will examine cutting edge basic and clinical translational research. Find out more: The afternoon session, Medicine and Me: Prostate Cancer Research, described above, is aimed at individuals affected by the disease. Find out more:

The Prostate Cancer Charity's, free, updated guide to taking part in prostate cancer clinical trials will be launched at the conference and is available here.

Every year nearly 32,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United Kingdom and 10,000 men die from it. Prostate cancer is now the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the UK - every hour at least one man dies from this disease.

African Caribbean men are three times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than their white counterparts.

About The Institute of Cancer Research

The Institute of Cancer Research is Europe's leading cancer research centre with expert scientists working on cutting edge research. It was founded in 1909 to carry out research into the causes of cancer and to develop new strategies for its prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care.

The Institute works in a unique partnership with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, forming the largest comprehensive cancer centre in Europe. This relationship enables close daily contact with those on the frontline in the fight against cancer - the clinicians, the carers and most importantly, the patients.

About The Royal Marsden Hospital

The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust was the first hospital in the world dedicated to cancer treatment and research into the causes of cancer. Over 40,000 patients are seen every year at its sites in Chelsea, London and Sutton, Surrey. The hospital provides inpatient, day care and outpatient services for all areas of cancer treatment.

Founded in 1805, the Royal Society of Medicine is an independent organisation that promotes the exchange of knowledge, information and id eas in medical science and continued improvement in human health.

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