Prostate cancer testing: has the bubble burst?

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Two new studies are bursting the bubble about the value of screening men for prostate cancer.

Simon Chapman, University of Sydney

In 2010, I wrote a free book on prostate cancer testing with two colleagues, Alex Barratt (an epidemiologist) and Martin Stockler (a clinical oncologist), Let sleeping dogs lie? What men should know before getting tested for prostate cancer. It has been downloaded just short of 38,000 times, the highest of any item in Sydney University’s open access repository.

Clearly, there is understandably immense concern about prostate cancer. In 2014, 3,102 Australian men died from the disease, making it the second leading cause of cancer death in males after lung cancer (4,947 deaths). Read more …

Brett Montgomery, University of Western Australia

Three prime ministers and nearly three years ago, “first bloke” Tim Mathieson caused a brouhaha with his advice on prostate cancer screening:

We can get a blood test for it, but the digital examination is the only true way to get a correct reading on your prostate, so make sure you go and do that, and perhaps look for a small Asian female doctor is probably the best way.

It was the “small Asian female” part of this statement that attracted criticism, but what of the rest of his advice?


It correctly identifies the two common ways GPs screen for prostate cancer: a blood test (for a protein called prostate-specific antigen, or PSA) and the digital rectal examination, in which a doctor feels the prostate gland by inserting a gloved finger (“digit”) into a man’s rectum.

But rectal examination is less accurate than the PSA blood test, missing more cancer and causing more false alarm. Read more …

Are PSA tests not worth the risk in checking for prostate cancer?  is it worth getting a psa test or not? Until recently this was a no brainer. Every man over the age of 50 was strongly encouraged to get a psa test in case there was a high psa count or there was a rapid increase in psa. Recently there has been a change in thinking now that the numbers have been crunched.

Read more …

Why do doctors keep silent about their own prostate cancer testing decisions?

By Simon Chapman, University of Sydney

DoctorsAcross 38 years in tobacco control, I have been asked countless times in media interviews if I ever smoked. It’s often an early question. I always unhesitatingly explain that I did: I stopped in my mid 20s. The tone of the interview immediately relaxes because the sub-text of the question is about authenticity. If this person has never smoked, what would he really know about quitting? If I chose to stammer something about it being private or “not the point here”, most would become preoccupied with my evasiveness. Fudging and equivocal replies tend to suggest disingenuousness or lack of personal conviction aboutthe information being given. Read more …

Four reasons I won’t have a prostate cancer blood test

By Ian Haines, Monash University

psa blood test or notCancer Council Australia and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia yesterday released new draft guidelines to help GPs counsel men who ask about prostate cancer tests. They advise GPs to explain the pros and cons of testing and, if the man wants to proceed, to give him a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test every two years between the ages of 50 to 69. Read more …

Confused Man on Prostate Cancer FactsProstate cancer facts are not so hard to talk about.  At least, not for the doctor or urologist explaining it to you. For us lesser mortals, it is one thing to vaguely understand it in theory but it is quite something else when it is possible to see a well crafted visual guide of the prostate cancer facts. See here.

This is highly recommended viewing for those who just want to know more as well as for those who know they have prostate cancer and want to understand prostate cancer facts better.

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Prostate check It started off like any other day.  But today is the day you have to take the physical you have been putting off forever.

Still, better now than never. The sun is shining and it will be great to get away from work and into the fresh air. Read more …

chromosomesA test for the aggressiveness of prostate cancer would be extremely useful in working out whether to take direct action or to continue watchful waiting.

Recently, a study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has identified eight gene mutations known as gene fusions which indicate aggressive forms of prostate cancer. This gives great hope for improved strategies for treatment. Read more …

cane toad for prostate cancer?Poison from cane toads has been shown to be effective in killing prostate cancer cells. In China medicine made from toad poison is called chan su and is used to treat heart failure, sore throats, skin conditions and other ailments. Read more …

Moustache man for Prostate Cancer

Movember  is held each year.  It  involves the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer and other male cancers, and associated charities. The Movember Foundation runs the Movember charity event. Check out what is happening in your country at Read more …