28 Jul 2011

MPs call for better quality prostate cancer screening

6:46 am on 28 July 2011

A parliamentary committee has not endorsed public screening for prostate cancer but is calling for better quality testing.

The Health Select Committee has delivered a report on its inquiry into the early detection and treatment of the disease.

The effectiveness of the current blood test is debatable and unnecessary treatment can lead to serious side effects such as impotence and incontinence.

The committee's chair, Dr Paul Hutchison, says the ministry should not fully screen yet but it should improve the quality of testing.

He says the government should encourage men to talk to GPs about the test and their options.

Otago University epidemiologist Dr Brian Cox says the findings are confusing, and the committee should be moving to create standardised testing.

Dr Cox says the committee's recommedations are too vague and many are not new.