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Experts call for earlier prostate checks

3 August 2011 - 4:43pm

Pathologists are urging men to start undergoing checks for prostate cancer as early as 40.

The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) yesterday (August 2) declared its stance on Prostate Specific Antigen blood testing, saying that the method should be introduced provided it is supported by proper guidelines and education.

RCPA president Paul McKenzie says: "Blood levels of PSA are currently the best readily available biomarker for detecting prostate cancer," adding that repeat testing is necessary to ensure accurate results.

He asserts: "Men seeking to assess their risk of prostate cancer should be offered a PSA test … from the age of 40 years as a baseline measure of risk."

However some, including the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) believe the test is unnecessary and results in over-treatment in some cases when it is not needed.

Most of the debate centres on the ability of the test to distinguish between harmful forms of prostate cancer and those which pose little threat.

Debate is set to continue as the Australasian Prostate Cancer Conference continues this week.

Men concerned about prostate cancer should check with their health insurance provider to see if they are covered for in-hospital cancer tests and treatments.