National prostate cancer campaign - a first for NZ

  • Tony Ryall

Men and their families now have information resources to help them talk more confidently with their GP about prostate cancer.

“These resources are the first part of a $4.3 million programme to raise awareness of prostate cancer and ensure all men have access to quality information and care,” says Health Minister Tony Ryall.

“This is the first time a New Zealand government has had such a focus on prostate cancer awareness and ensuring men can easily access the latest evidence based information. The resources include leaflets, detailed booklets and posters about the risks and benefits of prostate cancer tests and treatment.

“One of the resources is a leaflet which includes a checklist to help men decide if they need a prostate check. It asks nine simple yes or no questions, to get men thinking about their prostate health,” said Mr Ryall.

Mr Ryall visited Capital Care Health Centre in Wellington today, and talked to doctors, including local GP Dr Samantha Murton, about the new prostate cancer resources.

The resources are based on the recommendations of the Prostate Cancer Taskforce, a group of clinical specialists and expert advisors chaired by Wellington urologist Professor John Nacey. They have been developed with input from consumers, GPs, specialist clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

“There has been a great deal of conflicting information about prostate cancer tests and treatments which has been confusing for men and their doctors,” says Professor Nacey.

“These resources will provide clear and balanced information so men can talk to their GPs about all the available options and make decisions that are right for them.

“We also know that many GPs want more support and guidance around who to test for prostate cancer, who not to test, and who to refer to a specialist. A range of clinical resources are being developed for health professionals to help achieve greater consistency in the advice men receive.

“Next year a group of clinicians and experts, including GPs and nurses, will oversee the development of guidelines and standards so men have equal access to specialist services for assessing and treating prostate cancer. The standards will help enhance early detection while limiting the harms and complications that can be caused by unnecessary treatment.

“A quick reference chart will be developed to guide GPs, and a decision aid will help men and their doctors agree on what action to take. Electronic prompts in patient management systems will remind doctors to talk to their patients about prostate cancer.

“New Zealand is one of the first countries in the world to develop a comprehensive national prostate cancer programme. Over time, this work will lead to better survival rates for men,” said Professor Nacey.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in New Zealand - each year around 3000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and the disease kills around 600 men annually.

An electronic copy of the resources are available on the Ministry of Health website

Health Minister Tony Ryall looks at the new prostate cancer resources with patient Mike Knott, local GP Dr Samantha Murton and Wellington urologist Professor John Nacey