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Movember Monsense

November 3, 2013

Prostate cancer screening

It’s not the sanctimonious mateyness or even the facial hair that put’s us off.  And the advice to check your testicles for lumps is good – testicular cancer is treatable if caught early, and no harm comes from removing benign lumps down there.

It’s the fretting about prostate cancer (click here).  Sure, it’s relatively common, but most cases are in men well over 70, many of whom die with, rather than from, prostate cancer.  And is not worth worrying about until you get symptoms, because screening doesn’t work.

Movember’s suggestion that because women get screened for breast cancer, men are missing out by not being screened for prostate cancer is bonkers. The truth is the opposite. Neither screening programme is proven effective and even if they do have a small benefit they are not worth the hassle and the harms. Women are being treated unfairly by being bullied into being screened.

But you don’t have to take my word for it.  Click here for a recent editorial from the Cochrane collaboration – no reduction in mortality, despite a big increase in prostate cancer diagnosis and complications of treatment.

By all means grow a moustache, but keep well clear of prostate screening.

Jim Thornton

2 Comments leave one →
  1. susan bewley permalink
    November 9, 2013 11:27 am

    well said, if only men could really understand the breast screening dangers, they would be less keen. i want the leaflets women get to be as objective and informative as the mens on nhs choices website. prostrate screening is under national screening committee purview and the problem is that breast screening isnt, for historical reasons.

  2. November 10, 2013 3:35 pm

    One of the many reasons for being hyper-cautious before starting a screening programme is that once started they are almost impossible to stop. Breast screening is a case in point.

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