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Posts Tagged ‘Suspected Cancer in Primary Care’

mohPROSTABLOG NZ: Maori and Pacific people living in NZ suffer big disparities in the way cancer is detected and treated, and how well they survive it. READ MORE>

This has been known for some time, but the problem is newly highlighted in the Ministry of Health-funded cancer guidelines for GPs that have just been released.

For example, it reminds us that as many as 17% of Maori cancer cases and 6% of deaths are never reported.

It also points out that health statistics tend to be five years old before they are published, which suggests that in the rapidly changing detection/treatment environment for prostate cancer, decision-making on how best to screen and treat is seriously hampered by lack of knowledge.

While the overall, 174-page report, avoids discussion of population-based screening, it does touch on the issue in the ethnicity section:

Cormack et al. noted that national screening programme data have identified that equitable screening for breast and cervical cancer has not been achieved for Mäori women.

However, BreastScreen South Limited’s results (70% of eligible Mäori women screened in 2005) suggest that the inclusion of focused efforts and leadership are the key to achieving equity in screening.

The report analyses available data on ethnic disparities in cancer detection and treatment, and makes a number of suggestions, including more “cultural competence” training for health workers.

For the full report, CLICK HERE>

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mohPROSTABLOG NZ: New guidelines for general practitioners on how to handle men presenting with possible symptoms of prostate cancer (and other cancers) were released today by the NZ Ministry of Health.  READ MORE> and HERE (summary)>

The advice is contained in a 174-page report from the Ministry-backed NZ Guidelines Group called Suspected Cancer in Primary Care – Guidelines for investigation, referral and reducing ethnic disparities, which sets out background data and guiding principles on a range of cancers.

The report avoids getting into population-based screening – a major issue in detecting prostate cancer – saying:

Cancer screening, health promotion and prevention, case-finding in asymptomatic people, recurrence of a previous cancer and metastatic cancer were beyond the guideline scope and therefore are not included.

However, it does relent a little in the section on ethnicity and cancer treatment disparity:

Addressing the issue of cancer screening is outside the broad scope of this guideline. However, because of the impact that screening uptake can potentially have on disease outcomes, it is briefly included as part of this disparity chapter.

In the section on prostate cancer, it outlines the following advice for GPs seeing patients:

  1. A man presenting with macroscopic haematuria (blood in urine) should be referred urgently to a specialist;
  2. A man found to have an enlarged, smooth prostate on digital rectal examination and a normal PSA should only be referred to a specialist if they have macroscopic haematuria;
  3. An older man presenting with lower urinary tract symptoms (frequency, hesitancy, nocturia) should be recommended to have a digital rectal examination and a PSA test.

Men with erectile dysfunction are excluded from the referral guidelines.

The report also contains the latest data on cancer trends and explores in some depth the detection, care and mortality disparities between Maori, Pacific people and European Kiwis.

On the page listing organisations that endorse the report (so presumably have seen it already), the Cancer Society of NZ (which opposes population-based prostate cancer screening) is included – but not the Prostate Cancer Foundation of NZ (which supports it).

The report comes just a week before the Government’s Parliamentary inquiry into prostate cancer detection and treatment, which will hear its first submissions on Wednesday.

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