Prostate Cancer
Posted: 31st May 2019

Thousands of men with prostate cancer, the most common male cancer, will in time be able to avoid the damaging side effects of surgery thanks to a new research scanner that will be installed in Norwich, following a major donation from Norfolk freemasons.

The freemasons not only achieved their target of purchasing the £144,000 scanner, but raised more than twice the amount needed. This will allow for a significant contribution of £146,000 to related prostate cancer research.

New scanner will set apart harmless and aggressive prostate cancers

The Affymetrix Microarray Scanner can differentiate between the majority of harmless “pussycat” prostate cancers and the 10 per cent of aggressive “tiger” cancers. Up until now there has been no way for doctors to tell the difference between the two and this has led to tens of thousands of men having unnecessary operations with serious side-effects including incontinence and impotence. With each operation costing the NHS £7,500 to perform there are also significant savings to be made nationally from performing less unnecessary surgery.

The clinical research team is led by Professor Colin Cooper at the University of East Anglia (UEA), who is developing the new test after a laboratory breakthrough made using artificial intelligence, and who is hoping to raise £2m to continue his vital research into this condition over the next 3 years, to create the new clinical test.

Prostate cancer now more common than breast cancer

Every year in Norfolk there are 800 men that develop prostate cancer, with 40,000 across England and Wales. An estimated 11,000 men die every year from the condition, which is now more common than breast cancer. In time the new test could become available to test cancers in 500,000 men across Europe and North America annually.

The £290,000 donation from Norfolk freemasons includes a £100,000 grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

Donation will also fund further medical research

Professor Colin Cooper, Chair of Cancer Genetics at UEA said:

“I am extremely grateful to Norfolk freemasons for their generous grant. This will fund not only the scanner itself, but also the continuing research into prostate cancer. Many lives will be saved as a result. and many unnecessary operations will be avoided, saving patients from some very unpleasant side-effects.”

Stephen Allen, Head of Norfolk freemasons said:

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to not only achieve our goal of buying the scanner, but we’ve raised more than double the amount needed. This will allow us to make a very significant contribution to Professor Cooper’s ongoing research.”

Interested in supporting this research?

Those that wish to support this vital research are urged to contact the UEA Development Office, email giving@uea.ac.uk or call 01603 592945 for more information