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Preventive Health Care

Volume 447: debated on Friday 16 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much has been allocated to preventive health care for men, with particular reference to early detection of prostate cancer, in each trust area in Northern Ireland over the last three years. (77344)

It is not possible to identify the money allocated to preventive healthcare for men in each trust area. Health promotion initiatives such as tobacco and diet control are targeted at men and women.

No specific funding has been allocated by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for the early detection of prostate cancer to each trust.

The National Screening Committee has reviewed the current research evidence and does not recommend screening for prostate cancer. The main reason is that the current tests have limited accuracy and so follow-up procedures could cause harm to healthy men. Men with prostate cancer symptoms are encouraged to seek early advice from their GP. They may ask for a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test. However, to enable them to make an informed decision about the PSA test, they need to know about its limitations and the potential side effects which may occur following surgery, which include incontinence and impotence.