Doctors develop prostate guidance site

In collaboration with the Press Association

Men considering having a PSA blood test for prostate cancer can now turn to a new website to read about other men's experiences.

The new site will be hosted by Dipex, a treatment information site established by doctors to offer details of patients' experiences and part funded by Cancer Research UK.

The prostate page was set up by Dr Alison Chapple, a senior research fellow at Oxford University, who spoke to 42 men about their experiences after taking a PSA test.

"Men may have read about the PSA test in the newspapers, heard about it on the radio, or they may have family members who have had prostate cancer," she told the BBC.

"Whatever their circumstances, they may be considering taking the PSA test.

"We know some men feel uncomfortable talking about their health, and this latest addition to the Dipex website should help them access information more easily."

PSA testing has greatly increased the number of prostate cancers diagnosed at an early stage, but has remained controversial as it is not always reliable.

The test measures levels of a protein, PSA, in the blood. PSA levels are usually raised in men with prostate cancer, but some men with the disease do not have raised PSA, and some men with raised PSA do not have prostate cancer.

Wrong diagnoses can lead to unnecessary surgery. Cancer Research UK is currently part-funding a major study into the effectiveness of PSA testing.

The site has been established to help men make up their own minds when they are considering screening, and to help educate men in the risks of prostate cancer.

A recent study revealed that a quarter of men over the age of 55 did not consider age a factor in prostate cancer - despite the risks of the disease increasingly sharply with age.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the UK, with more than 30,100 new cases diagnosed every year.