Prostate testing advice to change
Advocates of prostate cancer testing believe the Health Ministry is about to change its controversial advice which discourages men from being screened unless they have symptoms.
Wellington pathologist Professor Brett Delahunt, president-elect of the International Society of Urologic Pathologists, says he is optimistic the recommendations will change after lobbying from the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
The foundation wants men to be told that if they want a test, they should ask their GP to explain the procedure a blood test to check levels of the prostate specific antigen and the implication of a positive result.
It wants to encourage men aged 50 or more to be tested every two years, although there were indications annual tests were appropriate.
The Health Ministry believes population-based screening such as the free mammograms offered women to check for breast cancers is not cost-effective. But the prostate lobby groups say their stance may make men believe individual PSA tests are not useful, when they they can save lives.
The Sunday Star-Times understands Health Minister Annette King has been receptive to a change in the recommendations, but until now the ministry has been “dragging the chain”.