Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in Canada. This cancer forms in the prostate, a part of the male reproductive system that adds nutrients and fluid to sperm. Advanced prostate cancer can be fatal or decrease a man’s quality of life. However, most prostate cancers grow slowly, and even without treatment many men with slow-growing prostate cancer will die of some other cause.
Health Quality Ontario Reviews Prostate-Specific Antigen Screening for Prostate Cancer
The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test is widely used in Canada to diagnose and monitor patients with prostate cancer. It tests for a protein produced in the prostate. Higher levels of this protein may indicate prostate cancer, but may also be a result of other prostate conditions. Patients then need further testing to understand the reason for their high PSA levels and, if cancer is present, whether it is a slow-growing or advanced cancer.
There has been debate about whether to introduce a formal program to screen all men over a certain age for prostate cancer. There is concern that such a program would detect many slow-growing, low-risk cancers and could lead to unnecessary treatment and health care costs, as well as anxiety for the patient.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has accepted this recommendation.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided the following response: The Ministry has no current plans to fund the PSA test for population-based screening purposes.