8:00pm – Thursday, October 1 on ABC1
Prostate Testing Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths among males. Testing for it involves a simple blood test to measure the Prostate Specific Antigen, or PSA test. For years, public health messages encouraging “early cancer detection” have been loud and clear. We’ve all been told that the best defence against cancer is to get tested and for the earliest possible detection and treatment. But prostate cancer is different. It is estimated that 50% of screened prostate cancers are never destined to cause you symptoms, let alone kill you. So there are an awful lot of men receiving potentially harmful treatments with serious side effects such as impotence and incontinence. Dr Maryanne Demasi investigates the pros and cons of cancer screening.
The Trouble with Tests Recent Australian research is throwing out a fundamental challenge to the way doctors look after their patients. If the findings are right, millions of dollars are being wasted on medical tests. It’s not a plot or a conspiracy, it’s done with the best will in the world, but doctors have been taught to diagnose and monitor people undergoing treatment with tests. But the evidence suggests it’s misguided and could lead to risky treatment changes. Dr Norman Swan takes a close look at what can become a long and expensive run on the medical treadmill and offers some suggestions on how to get off.
Prostate Treatment Dr Maryanne Demasi meets with a number of men who have recently received a cancer diagnosis and are now faced with making the decision to proceed with treatment. Treatment options for prostate cancer come with a range of side effects like impotence, incontinence and sometimes rectal bleeding. For many men the impotency and incontinence are more fearful than the cancer itself. Treatment options range from radiotherapy to the removal of the prostate itself. Dr Maryanne Demasi discovers that the choice becomes a very individual decision.
Catalyst will be repeated on ABC2 – Friday, October 02 at 5:30pm