Ontario Improving Access to Prostate Cancer Testing
McGuinty Government To Cover Community Laboratory PSA Tests Under OHIP
Ontario is improving access to care by making it easier for men to get tested for prostate cancer closer to home.
Starting in January, 2009, the cost of a Prostate-Specific Antigen test performed at a community laboratory will be covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan when it's ordered by a primary care provider for men who meet the test's clinical guidelines.
Making the PSA test available in community labs means many men will now benefit from improved access and monitoring within their own community. For those living in rural and northern communities this flexibility will provide greater convenience because less time will be required to travel to and from a testing facility.
Currently, publicly funded tests are only available in hospitals and are covered through a hospital's budget.
- In Ontario in 2007, about 8,900 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and 1,650 died from the disease – the third leading cause of cancer death in men.
- The PSA test is a blood test that measures the amount of PSA in the blood. PSA is produced by the prostate and is normally in a man’s blood in small amounts. An elevated PSA level may indicate that cancer is present.
- Elevated PSA levels don’t necessarily mean a man has cancer. Other factors — infection of the prostate gland, for example — can also cause PSA levels to rise.
“Through more discussions with health care providers and increased access to the PSA test, Ontario’s men will be better equipped to detect prostate cancer. Our government pledged to increase access to the PSA test — I’m pleased to follow through on that commitment.”
“Making the test more accessible through community labs removes a barrier for men at risk and for those with symptoms who should have a PSA test. Men should talk to their primary care physician about whether the PSA test is right for them.”
“I’m pleased the government is making it easier for all Ontarians — especially those in rural and northern areas of the province — to get the PSA test”