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Prostate cancer: case finding scheme is unapproved “screening by stealth,” GPs claim

BMJ 2022; 378 doi: (Published 12 August 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;378:o2015
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

NHS England is set to launch pilots of prostate cancer case finding across the country, with the aim of closing the “treatment gap” created during the covid pandemic and improving early identification and diagnosis.

A slide deck prepared by NHS England and NHS Improvement, seen by The BMJ, says that the pilots will target men at risk, defined as all men over 50, men with a close relative who has had prostate cancer, and black men over 45. It will invite these men for a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, “counselling conversations and onward PSA testing” (box 1). During the pandemic ​​13 000 fewer people than expected started treatment for prostate cancer, NHS England has said.

Box 1

How the pilots will work

The pilot sites are currently being selected, with the initiatives set to launch from October 2022. Up to £2.5m has been made available to cancer alliances (regional bodies that bring together clinical and managerial leaders from across the local NHS) to cover the revenue costs in 2022-23, with further funding to be made available for delivery in 2023-24.

NHS England has outlined three potential delivery models:

  • Mobile vans or stationary community centres in …

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