A new voice in the prostate cancer screening debate

Two patients we respect (who have very differing perspectives and experiences) have brought a new book to our attention — and it’s free! It’s called Let Sleeping Dogs Lie. To quote one of our correspondents, “It sets out the pros and cons of screening but does not rule out diagnostic testing. There is a difference between these two aspects of the disease and they are often confused.”

We have only had the chance to read some of the introductory matter in the book so far, but at first glance it appears to offer a well-written and well-documented rationale for a position that The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink has supported for the past 2 years …

  • Individual, risk-based testing for prostate cancer (using PSA levels and digital rectal examinations) is good and justifiable based on well-considered, personal priorities.
  • Mass, population-based screening of every man over 40 (or 50, pick a number) is unjustifiable, fosters fear, and leads to the over-treatment of tens of thousands of men every year, just because they have a few cancer cells in their prostate.

In other words, one size does not fit all.

We plan to read the entire book. Once we have, we may comment further. If you would like to do so too, it is available through the University of Sydney’s eScholarship Repository. (Yes, it is written by three Aussies.) And remember, you can download the PDF for free!

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