That indeed is the vexing question for men currently. We have had several celebrities recently calling for more men to test and it looks like an open and shut case when you read their sad stories, doesn’t it? I feel for them.
However, it is never that simple. Rather than wade in with my own view (although see my factsheet on Prostate Problems here), I will refer you to what I thought was the most telling article I saw on the subject. From Simon Kelner in the i newspaper:
Bill Turnbull’s cancer revelation adds to the confused messages around prostate testing
“And what will you do when you know your reading?” continued the plain-speaking professor. The gist of his assertion was that there are two types of prostate cancer: one that kills you whatever you do, and one with which you can live quite happily (many men die in later life with – rather than from – prostate cancer. Why go looking for trouble? That was a crude interpretation of his advice.
The issue reminds me of the debate about DCIS breast cancer where women are told they have breast cancer, yet DCIS is thought normally not to progress to cancer in about half of cases, so many women are frightened by the diagnosis and can go through unnecessary treatment and the after-effects of that.
To test or not to test: indeed a vexing question and one that needs more work from researchers asap, I’d say.