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Prostate debate

Brochures encouraging men to talk to their GPs about prostate cancer have been attacked in prominent international medical journals, and New Zealand experts claim they are “taking a gamble with men’s health”.

Differing Opinions in the medical world

Invasive PSA testing, the most commonly used tool for detecting prostate cancer, caused an international health controversy in 2011 after a leading United States Government task force found the test did not save lives and caused more harm than good. PSA testing can lead to the unnecessary treatment of non-lethal cancer and leave men impotent and incontinent.

The debate has now flared up in New Zealand after the ministry kick-started a $4.3 million prostate cancer awareness programme and posted out booklets, brochures and posters to every general practice in the country late last year.

It is encouraging to see a 4.3 million dollar investment in men’s health but

Critics claim the information does not lay out the risks of testing.

Wellington GP Chris Kalderimis said he threw the brochures away and contacted his Primary Health Organisation and medical college to complain about them.


University of Otago cancer epidemiologist Brian Cox has labelled the resources “the poorest information packs sent out by the ministry in a very long time”.

but then

The Prostate Cancer Foundation says the pamphlets are perfectly balanced and has branded the critics “pathetic”.

It was backed by Rodney Studd, a urologist based at Wakefield Hospital, who also believed the ministry information was balanced.

Now I’m confused – anyone seen one of these brochures?

“You want to treat men who are young enough to benefit, not old crumbly men.”

… and can someone please tell me at what age one becomes a ‘crumbly old man’

There was me thinking, as long as you didn’t feel a hand on each shoulder, you were safe!