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Tuesday 25th June 2019

Prostate screening proposal scrapped

7th December 2010

Experts have said that carrying out a UK-wide screening programme for prostate cancer could prove to be more harmful than it would be beneficial.


The UK National Screening Committee said they had examined the evidence and decided that using a blood test to look for the cancer was not a good idea.

The PSA (prostate specific antigen) test has caused controversy in the past because of worries that men who had the test were being over-diagnosed with cancer.

Prostate cancer is the second most prevalent cause of death for men in the UK and affects 35,000 men every year, with 10,000 dying from the disease.

A blood test which reveals increased levels of PSA can indicate that a man has prostate cancer. However, there are other causes of raised PSA, which can include urinary infections and benign prostate enlargements.

The test is not infallible and a normal result can mask the fact that a patient does in fact have the disease.

The experts said that the fallibility of the test meant 48 men would be treated in order to stop one man dying from the disease.

The screening committee director Dr Anne Mackie said: "I am confident that this is the right decision. This advice is based on the latest research evidence, and informed by a range of groups including healthcare professionals and patient representatives."

"The NHS Cancer Screening Programme will continue to provide advice to help men who are concerned about prostate cancer to make informed decisions about their health."


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