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Free prostate tests needed in B.C., says MLA

The province needs a prostate-cancer screening program for all men older than 40, said an NDP MLA whose stepson is dying of the disease.

The province needs a prostate-cancer screening program for all men older than 40, said an NDP MLA whose stepson is dying of the disease.

“This is a significant public issue for the men of British Columbia and their families,” said Surrey Green Timbers MLA Sue Hammell, whose husband John is a prostate cancer survivor and stepson James Pollard, 47, has terminal prostate cancer.

“Early prostate cancer screening didn’t save my life, but it has extended my life,” said Pollard, who had no symptoms when he took the PSA (prostate specific antigen) test on April Fool’s Day 2009. For healthy males under 45 years of age, the test costs $35. Pollard said the cost is a barrier that prevents men from getting the PSA test.

The B.C. Cancer Agency, however, maintains that until very recently there has been conflicting evidence as to whether PSA testing as a screen for cancer testing leads to improved mortality rates.

The agency and the province monitor research, including scientific studies underway in the U.S. and Europe.

 
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