PCFA reinforces position on prostate cancer testing- response to latest RACGP guidelines

The latest recommendation by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RACGP) adds more confusion to the PSA testing debate and is out of touch with community attitudes.  The recently published 8th edition of the RACGP Guidelines for Preventative Activities in General Practice recommends against routine testing for prostate cancer with DRE, PSA or transabdominal ultrasound.

RACGP’s recommendation is in stark contrast to the results of PCFA’S 2012 Community Attitudes survey in which 40% of men aged 40 to 74 reported that they have been tested for prostate cancer in the last 12 months.  General Practitioners are one of the main influencers for testing with 46% of men reporting that their GP recommended a test as part of a routine check-up and 15% reporting that their GP just conducted a test.  Problematically almost 40% of men say that the advice they receive about the usefulness of the test is confusing.

Taken together these results further demonstrate that, despite public health and primary care advice to the contrary, many GPs do recommend testing and very high percentages of men are being tested every year.  What the Australian community needs is national evidence-based clinical guidelines supported by all medical colleges and other interested parties to bring order to the situation.  PCFA is working in collaboration with Cancer Council Australia, the National Health and Medical Research Council and the various medical colleges, including RACGP, to bring clarity to the message around testing.   The guidelines would maximise the lives saved through testing, whilst minimising the negative side effects. 

To read more about PCFA response to the RACGP guidelines click here.

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