The Man Van is a new mobile clinic supported by RM Partners, in collaboration with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and the Institute of Cancer Research, London, to make it easy and convenient for men who do not usually engage with healthcare to get a free health assessment at, or near their place of employment. The aim is to help identify and address undiagnosed health conditions and facilitate earlier diagnosis of urological cancers.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK. 1 in 6 men will develop prostate cancer and over 50,000 men are diagnosed every year. Black men are more at risk than other men, and have a 1 in 4 chance of getting the disease.

The project aims to reach manual workers, as studies show they are less likely to seek medical advice early for any symptoms experienced, and in those late presenters that have cancer diagnosed, they are likely to require more invasive treatment with their chances of a fuller recovery reduced. Around 20% of prostate cancer is first diagnosed via A&E – the Man Van is to target those groups at high risk of delayed diagnosis.

The Man Van clinic will be accessible at places of employment such as waste disposal sites, bus depots and construction sites in west London boroughs. Men will be able to make an appointment to attend the Man Van, and the service is available to everyone free of charge and completely optional.

The health checks are carried out in a private and relaxed environment, and take about 30 minutes.

Within the clinic, a coordinator supports an experienced urology Advanced Nurse Practitioner, who will carry out a health assessment similar to the NHS Health Check offered at GP surgeries. The men will be asked questions about their health and lifestyle, as well any relevant medical history.

The check also involves risk assessments for prostate cancer, with non-invasive assessment, and includes other broader health checks for potentially serious conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, which can contribute to the development of certain cancers. There will be an opportunity to discuss their diet and weight, as well receiving healthy lifestyle advice, including on smoking cessation and alcohol consumption.

The assessment may include a PSA test for prostate cancer, if appropriate, as well as other tests for other urological cancers or, if needed, an HbA1c blood test for those at risk of diabetes.

Once the health check is completed, the nurse will discuss results, which are shared with the client and sent to their GP (with the client’s consent). For some men, the results may show that a follow up appointment with their GP or hospital for more tests is needed. This will be explained to them, and an appointment will be made.

If the client needs to be referred to a specialist service, they will be informed and, depending upon their GP’s location, the Man Van team will either:

  • Refer the client to their local acute trusts’ specialist team if their GP is within the West London Cancer Alliance boundary and advise their GP of this referral.
  • Advise their GP to refer them to their local specialist team if the client lives outside the Alliance boundary.

The project incorporates research examining prostate cancer risk and offers participants an opportunity to consent and donate saliva and blood samples to further knowledge on early diagnosis of prostate cancer, led by The Institute of Cancer Research London.

For more information about Man Van please contact Michelle Chen, RM Partners Research & Innovation Lead, on michelle.chen@nhs.net