Let sleeping dogs lie? What men should know before getting tested for
Simon Chapman, Alexandra Barratt and Martin Stockler
Sydney University Press
Few issues have been as divisive as prostate cancer screening. While some prominent Australian urologists are very active in talking up the importance of prostate cancer screening, few Australians would be aware that no government anywhere in the world has a formal policy supporting prostate cancer screening. Nor would they be aware that aside from some professional urological societies, no reputable cancer control or expert prevention agency anywhere in the world currently recommends screening for the disease.
Despite this international expert consensus, de facto screening of populations is well under way, being driven by well-meaning advice about the importance of men becoming more informed about their health.
Medical science is today unable to predict with any precision which early discovered prostate cancers will turn out to be those that kill, and particularly which will kill men in middle age. The frontline diagnostic tool in efforts to screen for prostate cancer - the PSA test - is a tool which has very poor ability to find problematic cancers. It finds many benign cancers which could have been left alone.
The aim of the book is to provide a detailed examination of the main questions that a man should be asking before deciding to get tested for prostate cancer. It will help men to make informed decisions that best fit their circumstances and temperament. Let sleeping dogs lie? is a 'must read' for all men who care about their health, and those who support them.
About the authors
Simon Chapman is professor of public health at the University of Sydney. He is on the board of Cancer Australia; served for 10 years a director of the Cancer Council NSW; and for 20 years on the board of the Australian Consumers Association, publishers of Choice. He has won multiple awards for his international advocacy for tobacco control.
Alexandra Barratt is associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Sydney. She investigates ways to help people make more informed choices about their health care, including decisions about screening for breast and prostate cancer. She won two Eureka prizes (2006, 2007) for radio programs on cancer screening and evidence-based medicine.
Martin Stockler is associate professor of cancer medicine and clinical epidemiology, and co-director of oncology at the National Health and Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Centre at the University of Sydney. He is a consultant medical oncologist at the Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal Prince Alfred and Concord Repatriation General Hospitals, specialising in cancers of the prostate, bladder, kidney and testis.A free PDF version of the book can be downloaded here
For more information and updates see Prostate Cancer Testing Facts for Men.
What readers say
I would like to express my thanks and appreciation for your writing 'Let Sleeping Dogs Lie'. I am one of its target audience (aged 69). I have found the book extremely useful. It is jargon-free, easy to read, clear, fair, very well illustrated and, above all, hard-nosed with its analyses. Having been on the receiving end to date of two DREs and several PSA tests (all "negative"). I now feel as informed as I can currently be about not having any more of either - especially at my age.
Andrew from Perth
As a GP who finds counselling re prostate cancer testing one of my most time consuming and challenging jobs, I have found your book a godsend.
Dr V Speck, Victoria