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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Government announces overhaul of guidelines in prostate cancer screening

Health Industry Hub | November 25, 2022 |

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Health Minister Mark Butler joined Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia to announce an overhaul of Australia’s Clinical Guidelines for PSA Testing. The announcement was made at Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia’s annual Parliamentary Big Aussie Barbie in Canberra yesterday.

Population screening for prostate cancer has remained controversial since the implementation of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)‐subsidised PSA testing in 1989. Unfortunately, the RACGP Red Book, which is the Bible for GPs, is in stark contrast to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) testing guidelines. As a result, there is confusion amongst the GP community and GPs don’t know whether they should test men or not.

Screening with PSA and digital rectal examination (DRE) remain critical in risk assessment and initial detection. Over-detection and overtreatment have been mitigated with improved diagnostic pathways and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)‐directed targeting.

Experts have now called for new guidelines to improve early detection of the disease.

Health Minister, Mark Butler, said “Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer in this country, and the Albanese Government is committed to taking action to improve earlier detection and treatment of the disease. We are very serious about delivering on our election commitments to improve health outcomes for Australian men and families. More than 24,000 Australian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and more than 3,500 will die from the disease.

“As Health Minister, I am determined to increase earlier detection of prostate cancer so that we can reduce avoidable deaths from the disease and manage the country’s leading cause of cancer more effectively.”

PCFA Chairman Adjunct A/Professor Steve Callister, said “Australia has one of the highest rates of prostate cancer in the world, with one in every five Australian men likely to be diagnosed by age 85. We commend the Government’s support for our review of the 2016 guidelines and we look forward to commencing this work immediately.

“If we can diagnose all men at the earliest stage and ensure they have access to new medicines and care, we can beat this disease.”

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