MDU advises doctors on how to prevent a delayed diagnosis in prostate and testicular cancer

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) has published guidance for doctors on how to avoid a delayed diagnosis in prostate and testicular cancer to coincide with men’s health charity Movember’s annual moustache-growing fundraiser.

Since 2003, the annual event has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, particularly those aged 75 to 79 years. According to Movember, 1 in 8 UK men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Testicular cancer is less common, accounting for about 1% of cancers that occur in men. However, testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in young men in the UK.

In a study, the MDU received 106 cases over a two-year period which related to prostate and testicular cancer. 92% involved the MDU supporting GPs, with the other 8% being consultants. 81% of these cases

According to the MDU, the three most common reasons for a subsequent complaint were:

  • A delayed referral
  • Problems arising from the continuity of care
  • A failure to appropriately follow up with a repeat test or examination

Dr Kathryn Leask, MDU medico-legal adviser, said:

"Diagnosis of prostate and testicular cancer is by no means straightforward as symptoms and signs can be difficult to distinguish from less serious illnesses. To minimise the risk of a delayed diagnosis, doctors can communicate next steps with the patient, keep accurate records and make prompt referrals.

"Unfortunately, despite the doctor’s best intentions, things can sometimes go wrong. If this happens, you should be honest with the patient, explain was has happened and offer an apology."

Michelle Terry, chief executive of Movember said:

"Early detection is the key to successful treatment but with prostate cancer, in particular, often no symptoms are noticed until the disease is advanced, so it can be tricky to spot.

"Fears of COVID-19, or worries about bothering their GP at a time when NHS services are under tremendous pressure, has meant many men have not had conversations with their doctor about their prostate cancer risk. We are worried this could mean many men have their prostate cancer diagnosed too late – when it is more difficult to treat. We advise any man with any concerns to seek medical advice."

Read the MDU’s guidance on delayed diagnosis in prostate and testicular cancer.

Find out more about Movember.

This page was correct at publication on 18/11/2020. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

You may also be interested in

News

MDU warns doctors to protect their online privacy to prevent advances from infatuated patients

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) is warning healthcare staff to consider whether they are revealing too much about themselves online

Read more
News

Majority of doctors believe that their stress and anxiety levels have increased since the pandemic

70 per cent of medical professionals surveyed feel that their stress and anxiety levels have increased since the beginning of the pandemic according to new research published by the UK’s leading medical defence organisation.

Read more
News

Doctors turn to MDU for reassurance in record numbers during pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has led to record numbers of doctors seeking support and advice with medico-legal and membership queries, the Medical Defence Union (MDU) said today.

Read more