Sinn Féin Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has called for a prostate cancer screening programme to be established, saying that it would save lives.

Teachta Crowe, who has had treatment for the cancer, said that 90% of the men diagnosed with this cancer survive.

The Irish Cancer Society estimates that the average annual diagnosed cases of prostate cancer at 3,357, but early diagnosis in identifying the disease increases the chances of survival.

Teachta Crowe said:

“June is Men’s Health Awareness Month, so it is an appropriate time to raise the question around providing a screening programme for prostate cancer. It is the most common cancer in men.

The Irish Cancer Society estimates that roughly 3,357 cases are diagnosed every year. The good news is that over 90% of men who are diagnosed with the disease survive. However, testing and identifying the cancer early is key.

“For me, this is personal. I am one of the lucky ones who was pro-active regarding my health, got tested, the cancer was discovered, and various treatments, including surgery, followed.

“We know that the chances of developing prostate cancer increase with age. Most cases occur in men who are 50 years or older, but it can also happen if you are in a younger age bracket.

“The causes of prostate cancer are still not known, but risk factors include age, ethnic origin, and family history.

“I would urge anyone reading this that’s over 50, and who is concerned about their health, to talk to their GP about having a PSA blood test. The PSA blood test measures Prostate Specific Antigen. PSA does not test for prostate cancer but can help your GP decide if you have a potential problem.

“Unlike many other European countries, there is currently no national screening programme for prostate cancer in Ireland.

“A men’s screening programme would help eliminate unnecessary tests or treatments that can cause unpleasant side effects like invasive biopsies.

“A screening test programme could include combining the PSA blood test with an MRI scan for men with raised PSA levels.

“The benefits of screening are obvious, as state wide screenings are highly successful in identifying other cancers in our population.

“A debate around providing a screening programme for prostate cancer is long overdue and I am calling on the Minister for Health, Advocacy groups, and men in general to take ownership of this issue and make it a reality.”