Prostate Cancer: Screening

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 12th March 2018.

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many men have been screened for prostate cancer in each Clinical Commissioning Group area in each year of the last five years.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Prostate screening is not offered as a population screening programme in the United Kingdom.

The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) last reviewed the evidence about screening for prostate cancer in 2016 and recommended against a population screening programme. The reasons for this included that the test which is available for use in screening, Prostate-Specific Antigen, is neither very specific nor very sensitive, and is unable to distinguish between slow-growing and fast-growing cancers; there is therefore a risk that a national screening programme would lead to a high number of false positives. There are major harms of treating men who incorrectly test positive (i.e. have false positive tests), these include impotence, incontinence and rectal problems.

The UK NSC will be reviewing the evidence to screen for prostate cancer later in 2019/20. More information is available at:

https://legacyscreening.phe.org.uk/prostatecancer

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