MORE than 1,000 men have been diagnosed with prostate cancer in rapid access clinics that have cut waiting times for diagnosis.
The clinics run as part of the national, cancer control programme (NCCP) saw over 2,583 men last year and that figure is expected to increase significantly this year, as all eight rapid access clinics are now open.
"Our diagnosis rate is 41pc and this illustrates that we are now providing a good service where GPs refer patients into the system, which aims to ensure that men are provided with their diagnosis within a three to four week time-frame," NCCP director Dr Susan O Reilly said.
"For the majority of men who do not have cancer, that time-frame reduces the anxiety that longer waiting involves.
"And for those men who are diagnosed, their treatment options are discussed and considered by an expert multi disciplinary team who ensure that the patient is given all the options and all the information on the best approach to be taken," the expert said.
A total of 1,050 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in the clinics last year, according to the figures which were released at Farmleigh House.
It comes as over 3,200 men are now diagnosed with prostate cancer annually in Ireland. The rapid access clinics are situated at each of the eight designated cancer centres.
"From my own experience in the Mater and indeed that of my colleagues across the country, we know that while it is extremely important to provide our patients with a rapid diagnosis.
"It is equally important to ensure they have all the right options given to them once that diagnosis is made," said Mr David Galvin, a consultant urologist at the Mater Hospital.
Irish men who develop prostate cancer have one of the highest death rates from the disease in Europe.
However, the new clinics are ensuring many men are having their cancer diagnosed and treated earlier.