Ask the Expert live chat with Dr Richard Viney

On Friday 5 July, Dr Richard Viney (MBChB Medicine, 1995), Senior Lecturer in Urology, School of Cancer Sciences and Consultant at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, took part in a live chat answering your questions about his prostate cancer research. If you missed it, here is the full transcript from the event. The full storify recap can also be viewed here.

Q: What is prostate cancer?
A: It's a common cancer affecting one in nine men in their lifetime. That equates to 40,000 men in the UK. Across the world, it affects different ethnicities in different ways, e.g. it's more frequent in Afro-Carribeans.

Q: What are the early symptoms?
A: Early prostate cancer rarely gives symptoms. It is usually found by chance during regular GP check-ups or PSA (blood) tests.

Q: Should I get my husband checked?
A: Men over 50 should discuss this with their GP. If there is history of prostate cancer in the family, then start getting checked at 40.

Q: What can I do to decrease my chances of getting it?
A: There is some evidence for diet links to prostate cancer. Eat less saturated fat and lots of cooked tomatoes.

Q: What is the University of Birmingham doing in the field of prostate cancer research? Are we leaders in this field?
A: We are leaders in our field with innovative, basic science, translational studies and world-leading clinical trials. We have trials in gene and immunotherapy. Planning trials with cyberknife, robotic surgery and thermotherapy.

Q: Cancer research is a big industry now - what is significant about your work?
A: Work at the University of Birmingham is innovative, with implications for patenting and income generation. Our research will benefit local biopharma start-ups and is good for the economy.

Q: Why are clinical trials important?
A: They tell us how effective our treatments are, how best to administer and what patients can expect.

Q: What impact will trials have on patient care?
A: They should help us improve outcomes and reduce complications from treatment.

Q: What do you hope this trial will show?
A: That immunotherapy can offer another effective treatment modality for prostate cancer.

Q: What made you want to become a cancer researcher?
A: My mother died from breast cancer when she was 51 on the ward I was working on. I owe cancer one.

Q: Is your research applicable to any other cancers?
A: I hope so! I can see it having applications in most solid tumours.

Q: What new treatments are you working on?
A: Apart from gene/immuno/termotherapy, we are also exploring immunotherapy in testicular cancer.

Q: Where can I learn more about your research?
A: You can visit www.birmingham.ac.uk/prostate-cancer for more information and updates on our progress.

Q: Does, or has, your research involved testing on animals?
A: My research has not involved research on animals.

Q: Can prostate cancer sufferers get involved in your trials?
A: When we are recruiting, we will post information on the University of Birmingham website, possibly at the end of 2013.

Q: What do you hope your research will achieve?
A: Greater quantity and quality of life for the patient and improving our understanding of the disease.

Q: How can we help you with your research?
A: We need funding to kick-start our trials and every little bit helps. Find out more at www.birmingham.ac.uk/prostate-cancer