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Ending Postcode Lottery On PET-CT Scans Bolsters Case For Screening Pilot, Says Prostate Cancer Foundation

The Prostate Cancer Foundation fully supports Health Minister Shane Reti giving New Zealanders the same access to PET-CT scans no matter where they live, says Danny Bedingfield, the President of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand.
“We’d like to thank Dr Reti for funding 1,000 more PET-CT scans, as it means more men will have access to appropriate prostate treatment and avoid unnecessary procedures,” Bedingfield says.

“Importantly, the funding also increases radiological services needed to get the best outcomes from a prostate cancer screening pilot programme, Bedingfield says. “Improved radiological services, including both PET-CT and MRI scans, are crucial steps towards a high-quality prostate cancer screening programme which will reduce the 750 deaths of prostate cancer every year in New Zealand.”

Modelling commissioned by the Prostate Cancer Foundation found that a two-district pilot of a PSA**-based screening programme for earlier prostate cancer detection, focusing on Tairāwhiti and Waitematā, offers the potential to better understand and address the implications of screening on the likes of resourcing, equity, and access to modern diagnostic technologies.

“We’re calling on Minister Reti to follow up the $3 million for more scans with a modest $6.4 million initial allocation to run a prostate cancer screening pilot in two regions,” Bedingfield says. A screening programme like that offered for cervical, breast and bowel cancers is essential – early detection generally has an excellent prognosis, late detection reduces the range of options for treatment and is associated with significant mortality, Bedingfield said.

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Prostate cancer screening represents a rare opportunity to achieve health system savings along with health gains. For every quality-adjusted health year gained through prostate cancer screening, health system savings of over $8,000 are expected. When compared with other health interventions, this represents extraordinary value.” Mr Bedingfield says.
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*Positron emission tomography–computed tomography or PET-CT scans combines PET and CT images, a result which greatly exceeds images obtained by the two devices separately.
**Prostate-specific antigen or PSA test can help detect prostate cancer.
 

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