Prostate Cancer Canada advocates for fair and equal access to prostate cancer testing

Ontario is one of only two provinces that don't cover PSA tests

TORONTO, May 23, 2014 /CNW/ - Prostate Cancer Canada has launched a new campaign urging the Ontario government to cover the cost of PSA screening tests for prostate cancer.

 One in 7 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. If prostate cancer is detected early through a simple and affordable PSA test, survival can be over 90%. But unlike 8 other provinces, Ontario does not cover the cost of the PSA test, leaving Ontarians to pay for it out of pocket.

 "We are asking Ontario residents to take 30 seconds to tell their provincial election candidates, in all parties, that they support coverage of PSA tests for Ontarians," says Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of Prostate Cancer Canada.  "We have made it extremely easy to do so via the online advocacy tool psatestsforontario.ca."

What is the PSA test?

The PSA test is a simple blood test, taken from your arm, that measures the amount of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. While there are controversies with the PSA test, high numbers serve as a powerful red flag for further investigation. Without testing for prostate cancer, the excellent survival rate afforded by early detection is lost and men are diagnosed at a much later stage, when death from the disease becomes more likely.

Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer

Nearly 24,000 Canadian men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013, about the same number of patients diagnosed with breast cancer. Prostate and breast cancer kill roughly the same number of Canadians each year, respectively 4,000 and 5,100.

Similar numbers, but with one major difference - while the costs of breast-cancer-related mammograms are paid for by the public health system in every province, the cost of PSA blood tests are covered in only 8 provinces.

"We are concerned that making men pay gives them the impression that the test isn't actually beneficial, if it isn't covered," says Rossi.  "We don't want men to have one more reason to ignore getting tested or having an informed conversation with their healthcare provider. When it comes to men taking charge of their health, we need to remove as many hurdles as possible. This campaign aims to do just that."

For more information, please visit psatestsforontario.ca.

About Prostate CancMeer Canada

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to affect Canadian men, impacting one in seven men over the course of their lifetime. Prostate Cancer Canada funds critical programs related to awareness and public education, advocacy, support of those affected, and research into the prevention, detection, treatment and cure of prostate cancer.  For more information visit prostatecancer.ca and follow us on Twitter and Facebook

SOURCE: Prostate Cancer Canada

For further information: Elissa Freeman for Prostate Cancer Canada, Cell: 416.565.5605, elissafreeman@gmail.com; Jillian Hermansen, Prostate Cancer Canada, 416-441-2131 ext. 239, jillian.hermansen@prostatecancer.ca

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