Pathology testing for prostate cancer is crucial, so on 11th September, Parliament House became a hub of pathology activity including onsite pathology collection for male MPs, Senators and their staff members who were offered prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests.
As well as pathology collection, there was also a multi-header microscope at the event that allowed people to see what pathologists look for when they diagnose prostate cancer. In-depth educational materials were also provided by Lab Tests Online for those attending to learn more about prostate cancer tests.
The PSA testing event was scheduled to coincide with the Big Aussie Barbie, hosted by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. The Prime Minister Scott Morrison was in attendance, along with other notable Ministers.
“Nineteen thousand men have been diagnosed with prostate cancer just this year,” the Prime Minister said.
The Opposition Leader, Anthony Albanese, also spoke at the barbecue about his personal experience with PSA testing explaining that following a high reading he now gets tested every three months.
The PSA test measures the level of prostate-specific antigen in the blood. The test can be used as a tool to screen for prostate cancer as the PSA level is typically raised when there is a prostate tumour. However, PSA levels can be raised for a number of reasons so in cases of a high PSA result doctors will order further tests to determine the cause.
The Federal Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, attended the PSA testing event to have his blood test and said, “this testing program is immensely important. We’ve been able to support prostate cancer on a variety of fronts”.
The PSA levels of 50 parliamentarians were measured and all participants had their results communicated back to them on the same day.
Warren Entsch, one of the co-chairs for Parliamentary Friends of Prostate Cancer Awareness, said, as part of this event “we may have saved lives”.
As a consequence of the testing event all participants have had the opportunity to learn more about their health status with appropriate guidance from medical professionals.
Events at Parliament House run by the Pathology Awareness Australia team increase the awareness of the role of pathology in healthcare.
Chris Bowen, the Shadow Health Minister, attended the event on behalf of MP Jason Clare who is the other co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Prostate Cancer Awareness.
“Warren and I have been down this morning giving blood in the same booth at the same time in a bi-partisan effort to show, Labor or Liberal – we all bleed, and we all need to be checked,” said Chris Bowen MP.
Ahead of testing all men received counselling from a Chemical Pathologist or a General Practitioner on the pros and cons of PSA testing in line with the latest National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines.
The event served as an example of the role of pathology in providing critical information to guide medical decisions that occur hundreds of thousands of times every single day.