Has PSA testing truly been a "public health disaster"?

Anthony J Costello and Declan Murphy
Med J Aust 2010; 193 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2010.tb03989.x
Published online: 4 October 2010

In reply: Chapman and Barratt’s statements about prostate cancer highlight the dramatic difference between the views of sociologists and the views of clinicians who deal daily with the burden of prostate cancer diagnosis, treatment and mortality. In 1851, prostate cancer was considered a rare disease.1 Chapman and Barratt’s views seem to remain consistent with this thesis. However, in 2010 in Australia, prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men, and the most common cancer causing death in men.

  • 1 The Epworth Centre, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.


  • 1. Adams J. The anatomy and diseases of the prostate gland. London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1851.
  • 2. Murphy DG, Kerger M, Crowe H, et al. Operative details and oncological and functional outcome of robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy: 400 cases with a minimum of 12 months follow-up. Eur Urol 2009; 55: 1358-1367.
  • 3. Hugosson J, Carlsson S, Aus G, et al. Mortality results from the Göteborg randomized population-based prostate-cancer screening trial. Lancet Oncology 2010; 11: 725-732. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(10)70146-7.
  • 4. Challacombe BJ, Murphy D, Lilja H, et al. The continuing role of prostate specific antigen as a marker for localised prostate cancer: “Do not throw the baby out with the bath water”. BJU Int 2009; 104: 1553-1554.


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