On Monday, the U.S. Preventive Task Force made last year’s recommendations official: they are advising against the use of the PSA test for all healthy men when screening for prostate cancer.
Last fall, the task force announced it believed healthy men should not routinely get the blood test, which detects high levels of a certain protein that can signal the presence of prostate cancer. They say it generates a high rate of false positive results. They acknowledge that it does help detect more cancer, but they say it has little or no effect on the rate of death from the disease.
Critics say these false positive results lead to unnecessary treatment that can harm or even kill patients who might well have survived the cancer with little or no side effects.
Other medical experts and screening advocates warn that the recommendation will cost lives. In the past, lack of screening meant many men were diagnosed with advanced stages of prostate cancer. This led to cancer that spreads to the bones which can be extremely painful.
The National Cancer Center estimates that about 241,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate disease this year and about 28,000 men will die from it.
At Urology Austin, we believe that a PSA test isn’t the only tool to consider when screening for prostate cancer, but we know it’s an important one. We also look at the patient’s family and past medical history.
We highly recommend that you speak to your physician first before foregoing this important, potentially life-saving test.
If you have any questions about these new recommendations, please don’t hesitate to call us at (512) 477-5905.