A PROMINENT Melbourne cancer specialist has slammed the management of prostate cancer in Australia, saying it has been hijacked by people with commercial interests.
Dr Ian Haines last night told a prostate cancer conference that PSA (prostate specific antigen) tests were doing more harm than good in Australia, causing many men to have damaging treatment for cancer that was never going to cause them any trouble.
The most positive estimates suggested PSA tests had only saved five lives in every 100,000 men tested (0.005 per cent) while causing many others to have treatment, including prostate removal surgery that gave them an 80 per cent chance of impotence and a 20 to 30 per cent chance of incontinence afterwards, he said. All of this harm could not be justified by so few lives saved and should mean every man having a PSA test is asked to sign a detailed consent form that shows they are aware of the risks.
Dr Haines, an adjunct clinical associate professor of medicine at Monash University, said he agreed with US doctors who said PSA testing was a public health disaster hijacked by people with commercial interests.