Should mass screening for prostate cancer be introduced at the national level?

Davidson, P. and Gabbay, J. (2004) Should mass screening for prostate cancer be introduced at the national level? Copenhagen, Denmark, WHO Regional Office for Europe’s Health Evidence Network (HEN) (Health Evidence Network (HEN) Synthesis Report).


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The issue
Prostate cancer is a major cause of death among men, with over 56,000 deaths in the European Union
in 1998. There are no obvious preventive strategies, therefore screening has been considered to reduce
the number of deaths. Opportunistic screening is widely carried out but there are no known national
programmes to screen for prostate cancer.
There are no completed randomized screening trials, although two are underway. Evidence from nonrandomized
studies suggests possible benefit, but these results may not be reliable due to bias or
alternative explanations. The main areas of uncertainty are the natural history of the disease, which
appears relatively benign in many cases, and appropriate treatment for positive screened cases.
Policy considerations
Mass screening should not be introduced at the national level, unless supportive evidence is available
from the ongoing screening or treatment trials.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Related URLs:
Keywords: prostatic neoplasms, mass screening, national health programs, health policy, decision support techniques
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Medicine
ePrint ID: 61752
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
May 2004Published
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2008
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:45

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