Waveney: Concern at cancer screening

A GROUND-BREAKING prostate screening session has found 31 men with abnormal screening results - 40pc higher than expected.Men over 40 were offered free PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, blood tests at an event at the John Innes Centre in Norwich on March 5.

A GROUND-BREAKING prostate screening session has found 31 men with abnormal screening results - 40pc higher than expected.

Men over 40 were offered free PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, blood tests at an event at the John Innes Centre in Norwich on March 5. Organised by the Norfolk and Waveney Prostate Cancer Support Group and the Graham Fulford Trust, the session was inundated.

There is no national screening for prostate cancer but the government has just asked the National Screening Committee to look at the issue again after a major study suggested it could cut deaths by 20pc. The study of 152,000 men aged 50-74 in seven European countries, published last week, found the screening programme identified twice as many cancers as would otherwise be picked up.

Last week chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson's recommended that GPs warn men asking for a PSA test there was a 'high chance they will be diagnosed with a cancer that will never affect their health'.


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In Norwich, 219 men were given free PSA tests.

Kidderminster-based consultant urologist David Baxter-Smith, who looked at the test results, found 31 abnormal results, which was 40pc higher than the average of his screening sessions elsewhere in the country covering a total of 7,500 people.

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The Norfolk men tested were aged from 40 to 89, and 64 had a family history of prostate cancer or breast cancer, which is also linked. Fifteen were found to have a significantly raised PSA and were advised to see their GP as soon as possible. A further 16 were found to be borderline and were advised to see their GP for another test in three months' time.

It is not known how many have prostate cancer and the results will be confidential.

Ray Cossey, chairman of the Norfolk & Waveney Prostate Cancer Support Group, said: 'There is reason for real concern over the unexpected, high number of elevated PSA levels found at this session.'

He said it was worrying that 68 of the 660 men who asked for a test had been refused one by their GP, even though the Department of Health advised they should have one on request.

The support group is hoping to raise funds to hold another screening session to meet the demand.

Meanwhile a Norwich man is urging men to ask their GP for a test after doing the same possibly saved his life.

Mel Lacey did not have any symptoms but decided to get a test after his friend was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer last year. His friend had already lost some treatment options because the cancer had not been caught earlier.

The 60-year-old former press officer for Norfolk police said: 'I suddenly thought I might be at risk and wouldn't know, so I asked for the test.'

He was told 'the news I feared, that I had prostate cancer'. He said: 'When I woke up the next day the world seemed like a very different place.'

Luckily the cancer was contained in the prostate and he had an operation in late November to remove the prostate gland. He has been gradually improving his fitness and hopes that the cancer has gone completely.

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