Helping inform Kiwi men about prostate cancer checks – and to reduce the inequities in accessing checks – is the aim of a new website launched by the Ministry of Health.

The Kupe site includes a short online questionnaire to help men or their family to decide whether they should see a GP or NP about a prostate check.

Professor John Nacey, chair of the Prostate Cancer Awareness and Improvement Programme, said prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men but it affects every man differently.

“Find it early can save lives, but not all prostate cancer needs to be treated.”

“Because of this, men need to understand the downstream risks and benefits of treatment before having a prostate cancer check so that they can make an informed decision.”

The quality improvement programme was set up because of equity of access issues to prostate cancer checks.  Also because currently men can receive confusing information on the early detection and treatment of prostate cancer which for many men can often grow slowly but some men develop aggressive and potentially life-threatening prostate cancer.

The Kupe aims to help address the inequities in test rates across ethnic groups and inconsistencies across general practices in terms of which men are checked for prostate cancer.

The Ministry has said this can result in men who may benefit from early diagnosis and treatment having their treatment opportunities limited because of late diagnosis while other men get diagnosed early who may not have any complications from prostate cancer but may suffer harms from overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

The site was developed by Homecare Medical with Ministry funding  as part of the improvement project and the project will later provide a “plug-in” for GP patient management systems that guides clinicians through the 2015 prostate cancer management and referral guidelines.  The tool is expected to be available in the middle of the year.

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