Screening must remain a free choice

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 22 April 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1023
  1. Margaret McCartney, general practitioner (
  1. Glasgow

    Charity letters asking for donations are a fact of life. This morning, however, there was a charity letter asking not for my money, but merely my support. The “Ignorance Isn't Bliss” campaign—launched this week and run by the Prostate Research Campaign UK with support from AstraZeneca—wants me, as a general practitioner, to display posters, and disperse leaflets encouraging women to use the “carrot and stick” approach to “persuade your man to talk to his doctor about his prostate health.” This campaign is different: it is for prostates, but for women. Sisters, we are being encouraged to “leave medical information leaflets lying around where he is likely to find them—ie, the bathroom, near the remote control or the car seat.” Women are wanted for our nagging abilities—and if you can't do it face to face (by “tugging at his heart-strings—do it for me/us/the family, as it means such a lot”), we are to do it by stealth. We are encouraged to lie, deceive, pressurise, and whine till we get our own way …

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