‘Prostate cancer screening: no rights or wrongs’ reports Australian Doctor

Published 29 February 2016

There are ‘no rights or wrongs’ in prostate cancer screening. That’s the message from Dr Leanne Rowe, who has shared her experiences dealing with her GP husband’s aggressive prostate cancer with Australian Doctor.

In the opinion piece, Dr. Rowe outlines how she now responds differently when healthy male patients ask her about prostate cancer screening.

Dr. Rowe informs her patients that they should be aware of the complexities of the options they will face if an abnormal result is detected. An abnormal result may identify an aggressive cancer. Alternatively, it could result in unnecessary treatment, invasive biopsies or serious side effects.

She is supportive of her patients, whether or not they decide to go ahead with the PSA test.

“Because of all the uncertainties involved, I will respect your choice not to be screened. On the other hand, if you decide to have a blood test, and the results are found to be abnormal, I will be there to support you to decide on management options recommended by your specialists,” Dr Rowe explained.

Dr. Rowe describes it as a “grey area of medicine” and advocates for informed consent. “A patient must make their own decision after weighing up the benefits, risks and uncertainties,” she said.

She recommends that any discussions about prostate cancer screening are part of a comprehensive health assessment.

Cancer Council Australia, together with the Prostate Cancer Foundation have developed a new set of Clinical Practice Guidelines for PSA testing to assist GPs with this consultation.

Read Dr Rowe’s full article via Australian Doctor. The story is available for health professionals registered to practice in Australia. A login is required.

Read more about Cancer Council’s clinical practice guidelines regarding PSA testing and early management of test-detected prostate cancer.