GP s and prostate cancer (December 2011)
The Prostate Cancer Advisory Group (PCAG) to the Department of Health, UK, has released five key points they would expect every general practitioner to know about prostate cancer.
- Every man aged over 50 years is entitled to a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test after properly being informed of the risks and benefits.Further information about the Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme is available at http://www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/prostate
- There is reduction in death from prostate cancer as a consequence of early detection, but there are considerable risks of over diagnosis and over-treatment.
- There are choices for men with respect to treatment options for localised prostate cancer including active monitoring / surveillance; surgery and radiotherapy.
- Black men have a three-fold increased risk of prostate cancer and family history is a very important risk factor of developing prostate cancer.
- Lower urinary tract symptoms are a poor guide to the presence or absence of prostate cancer, but full clinical assessment is required, which would include a discussion about PSA. Persistent unexplained back pain in men over 50 should prompt consideration of a PSA test.
‘It is imperative’ said Emma Malcolm, Chief Executive of Prostate Action, ‘That all GPs are aware of these five key points. 37,000 men are newly diagnosed with prostate cancer each year and we need front line doctors to be fully informed regarding this pernicious disease.’
The Prostate Cancer Advisory Group (PCAG) was set up following the establishment (by key voluntary sector and professional groups committed to tackling prostate cancer) of the Prostate Cancer Charter for Action in January 2003. The overall remit of PCAG was to facilitate collaboration between the Department of Health, the voluntary sector, patient and professional groups and to advise ministers, the National Cancer Director and the Department of Health on the development of policy on prostate cancer. PCAG was the first such disease-specific group of its kind, and the model has now been replicated in other diseases such as lung and bowel cancer.
PCAG is Co-Chaired by Professor Mike Richards and Professor David Neal and has members from the Department of Health, patient support groups and prostate charities, including Prostate Action.
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