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New Guidance on PSA Testing for Prostate Cancer

15 December 2005

New Guidance on PSA Testing for Prostate Cancer

The Ministry of Health is to develop new guidance for men and their doctors to assist their decision about having PSA testing for prostate cancer. The move follows discussions between the Ministry of Health and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand.

The new guidance, to be developed early next year, will assist doctors to provide fully informed advice for men when having discussions about prostate cancer. The guidance is intended to encourage discussion between men and their doctors of the issues surrounding the screening, diagnosis and treatment options for prostate cancer.

Although the Ministry of Health has not changed the recommendation for a population screening programme men are encouraged to seek further advice from their doctor to make an individual decision about having a PSA test. PSA testing is available to all men who wish to be tested.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation has been concerned that the current advice, which does not recommend population screening for prostate cancer, was seen to dissuade doctors from discussing prostate cancer with men until they began to have symptoms of prostate disease.

The Ministry of Health and the Prostate Cancer Foundation agree that men should be informed about the early detection and treatment of prostate cancer. They should be advised of the pros and cons of diagnosis and treatment so they can make an informed decision whether to have a PSA test.

The new guidance will help to ensure that doctors can provide the best advice to enable men to make an informed decision suitable to their particular circumstances.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation will be working closely with the Ministry and specialist groups to produce new guidance for men on PSA testing.

ENDS

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