Isle men rank lowest
in prostate screening
Only 33 percent of Hawaii's men over age 50 have had a full prostate cancer screening, placing the state at the bottom of national rankings for prostate screening, reports the National Prostate Cancer Coalition.
The organization applauded Hawaii's legislative health chairs -- Sen. Rosalyn Baker (D, Honokohau-Makena), and Rep. Dennis Arakaki (D, Alewa Heights-Kalihi) -- for introducing bills to require health insurance coverage for prostate cancer screening.
"Removing the barriers in accessing annual health maintenance will no doubt save lives," said Dr. Richard N. Atkins, National Prostate Cancer Coalition chief executive officer.
Hawaii is one of 24 states that do not require insurance for prostate cancer screenings.
According to the coalition, 37 percent of Hawaii men over 50 had the blood test (prostate specific antigen or PSA) for prostate cancer last year -- a 12 percent drop from the previous year. Thirty-three percent had the physical exam (digital rectal exam or DRE).
Before the PSA blood test, about three-fourths of all prostate cancer cases were found in late stages which aren't readily treatable or curable, the coalition said.
Since widespread use of PSA began in the early to mid-1990s, about three-fourths of all cases were found early with a survival rate of 99 percent, it said.