The national cancer strategy is currently being developed by the national cancer forum in conjunction with my Department. As part of this work, a multi-disciplinary sub-group of the national cancer forum has reviewed all issues relating to screening, including examining specific diseases such as prostate and colorectal cancer. The group advised that insufficient evidence exists to recommend the introduction of a population based prostate screening programme in this country. The group also recommended that this issue should be reassessed when the results are available from randomised trials currently being conducted. The group's recommendation will inform the development of the new national cancer strategy.
This position is consistent with recent recommendations adopted by the European Union. This advocates the introduction of cancer screening programmes, which have demonstrated their efficacy having regard to professional expertise and priority setting for health care resources. The proposals do not make specific recommendations in respect of screening for prostate cancer.