24 Sep 2009

Doctors accused over prostate cancer deaths

9:02 am on 24 September 2009

Parliament's health select committee has distanitself from accusations some doctors are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of men from prostate cancer.

The accusation was made to the committee by the Prostate Cancer Foundation, which claims some doctors are not having men screened early enough.

Foundation president Barry Young told the committee that his organisation knows of a number of men who have asked for a screening test but been denied it by their GPs.

Mr Young says between 200 and 300 men a year could be saved if doctors had them tested early enough.

After the hearing, select committee chair Paul Hutchison said Mr Young's remark was inappropriate.

Dr Hutchison said the committee would write to Mr Young suggesting that if he has examples he should complain to the Medical Council or, more appropriately, the Health and Disability Commissioner.

Meanwhile, a group of Australian and New Zealand surgeons has lowered the recommended age for men to be tested from 50 to 40.

The Urological Society says each week, more than 10 men under the age of 50 are diagnosed with prostrate cancer in the two countries, the ABC reports.

The society's president, Dr David Maloof, says earlier detection will reduce the risk of dying from the disease.