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Prostate Cancer :: Ontario’s men will be able to have a free PSA test

Ontario’s 2,850,000 men over the age of 40 will be able to have a free PSA test if the Liberals are elected next month. As part of their election health initiative, the Liberals will have OHIP pick up the cost of the test. Currently it costs men in Ontario between $20 and $35 to have the test done.

The PSA test measures Prostate Specific Antigen in the blood. This antigen, produced by the male prostate gland, often increases with the onset of cancer and can be an early warning sign of trouble ahead.

Although, like mammograms for women, the test does produce false negatives, but it remains the only way a man can find out early, when a cure is often possible, if he has prostate cancer.

This is an important issue for Ontario men as one is six will get prostate cancer in their lifetime and each year more than 4,000 Canadian men die of the disease. The PSA test is government funded in every Canadian province except Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

“It may seem like a small sum, but our research has shown that the lack of inclusion in paid procedures has inhibited the otherwise necessary use of this test,” says Wally Seeley Executive Director of the Network. “Further,” he said, “it’s an acknowledgement of the importance of men’s health and it will save lives.”

The Canadian Prostate Cancer Network has asked the other two major parties to state their position as to whether they would include the test in OHIP paid procedures. They have not responded.

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