Spoke at The Prostate Cancer Charity International Research Conference yesterday. At Central Hall in London.
I’ve always wanted to speak there ever since attending student politics conferences there in the eighties. Including one where a mesmerising Norman Tebbit full took the wind out of the sails of several thousand heckling, noisy and angry youths.
I was asked to talk with my INVOLVE hat on about ways in which patients could progress research. It seemed quite natural to begin my presentation by encouraging the audience to get involved in clinical trials and to persuade others.
But all credit to the Chair of one of the charity’s local branches who challenged me strongly afterwards about how simple I had made it sound and how the practicalities were much harder.
He talked about how the lack of public understanding of trials and the lack of interest and knowledge of GPs posed real hurdles to recruitment. He also briefly told how two men with prostate cancer in his area had each paid £14,000 to get on a trial privately. An absolute scandal.
He was right . I was wrong. I had made it sound far too simple. We still have much to do to improve access.
I hope he writes to me as I asked so I can see if I can do anything more about it.
Likewise if people have similar stories… do tell.
CEO, Ovarian Cancer Action