EAU 2017 | Learning disability and testicular cancer
Mehran Afshar, PhD, MBBS, MRCP(UK), from St George’s, University of London, London, UK, discusses treating patients with learning disabilities and testicular cancer at the European Association of Urology (EAU) conference 2017 in London, UK. Approximately 1 in 40 individuals in the UK have some form of learning disability. These individuals are living longer, and so cancer incidence is rising in this population. A challenge with treating individuals with learning disabilities and prostate cancer is that routine procedures, such as blood tests and scans, as well as patient consultations and consent, take longer to complete. Data on a cohort of patients with learning disabilities and testicular cancer who attended hospital over a 14 year period was analysed. Results showed that there is a significant disparity between the survival of neurotypical patients with testicular cancer, and those with learning difficulties. The reasons behind this are not currently clearly understood, however, a potential reason that is discussed is a lack of education among individuals with learning disabilities on how to recognise the signs of cancer. If no biological reason can be found as to why patients with learning disabilities and testicular cancer have a poor survival rate, then more work needs to be done to educate these individuals, as well as their carers. Health authorities therefore do need to implement change in this area in order to improve the survival rates of these individuals.
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