There’s good news for men’s health in last week’s Ontario Budget. For the first time, OHIP will cover the cost of the blood test used to detect prostate cancer for men over 50. It’s called the PSA or Prostate Specific Antigen test. The tests have been controversial in the past with some doctors arguing they can lead to overtreating men diagnosed with slow-moving cancers. Dr. Lawrence Klotz of Sunnybrook health Sciences Centre is a leader in the field. He recommends a conservative approach to treatment, but an aggressive approach to screening. He says men should take their first PSA test even before the government will pay the $30.
“My reccomendation is the first PSA fairly young, around the age of 40, and then if its low, which in most men it should be, then it can be done every 4 to 5 years. If its higher, then it might have to be done more frequently.”
Some doctors recommend annual PSA tests after the age of 50. The biggest risk factors are family history and race – men of African descent are at higher risk.