Medical Relief

23 Nov

Finally… a voice of reason to ease the looming trepidation of men of a certain age. In its latest book of preventative health guidelines, the Royal Australian College for General Practitioners advises its members not to recommend prostate cancer screening to patients. Arguing that the risks of being screened for prostate cancer outweigh the benefits, the group says the risks of being screened for prostate cancer outweigh the benefits.

According to Professor Chris Del Mar (from Bond University on the Gold Coast), the process is invasive (no kidding!) and can lead to health problems. “To find out whether you’ve got it involves an involved diagnostic procedures, a biopsy done through the rectum into the prostate.” While there is a 50 per cent chance that men over 60 will have the disease, he says, prostate cancer is entirely benign in most cases.

If he had the disease, he notes, he would not want to know. “The chances are – still – that it won’t ever shorten my life.” He warns that patients who are tested often develop serious infections, erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.

Expressing his concern about awareness campaigns that encourage men to be screened for prostate cancer, he says, “There’s a lot of confusion in the minds of GPs and the general public. Screening for prostate cancer ends up doing more harm than good.”

The college has previously been on the public record for its opposition to prostate cancer screening, noting that, increasingly, medical literature supports its position.

So… the final verdict for those preferring prevention to indignity: “Go for a run, have something healthy to eat, and just enjoy life.”

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