Breast cancer screening: what about the blokes?

File photo. SunLive.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation is congratulating the coalition Government on delivering its promised extension of free breast screening, the most common cancer among New Zealand women.

"The extension will save lives," says foundation president Danny Bedingfield.

But Kiwi men are wondering why it’s taking so long to see a focus on reducing the number of deaths from the single most common cancer, apart from skin cancer, in New Zealand men  – prostate cancer.

“While we welcome breast screening expanding to women aged 70 to 74, it’s frustrating there is no screening programme, or a pilot programme, to detect warning signs of prostate cancer,” says Danny.

Over 4,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in New Zealand and approximately 750 die.  

"That’s twice the road toll."

The Breast Cancer Foundation lobbied for eight years to raise the age and save more women’s lives, so well done for achieving this goal, says Danny.

"But men’s lives matter too and while the Health Minister is focused on reducing cancer-related deaths, we strongly urge him to launch a pilot of a prostate screening programme that could potentially save many times the estimated 22 lives quoted by the Minister."

While in Opposition, Minister Shane Reti was quoted as saying “My recommendation would be for us to have a national screening programme for prostate cancer", says Danny.

“Everyone, including the Minister, agrees that early detection of any cancer leads to better clinical outcomes and saves lives.

"This is why we need an early detection pilot in two regions. The implementation of a pilot scheme would be a low risk, sensible way to learn, and scalable if successful.”

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