A few months ago we told you about the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations regarding the potentially life-saving P.S.A test. They said healthy men should no longer receive the P.S.A. blood test to screen for prostate cancer because generally speaking, it doesn’t save lives and causes unnecessary, potential side effects like pain, impotence and incontinence.
Since the recommendations, The American Urological Association (AUA) has been working tirelessly to spread the word about the value of the PSA test for prostate cancer screening and their complete disagreement with the USPSTF recommendations.
Others are following suit. On January 17, 2012, the New Jersey state legislature passed an act (AJR89/SJR77) opposing the USPSTF recommendations on P.S.A. testing. They are the first state to take this action, which guarantees coverage for the test in spite of the USPSTF recommendation, and the AUA has said they applaud them for taking this bold and decisive stand.
Urology Austin patients are still expressing some confusion over the P.S.A. screen.
We continue to tell them that the test does in fact save lives. The AUA Best Practices Guidelines recommend offering P.S.A. screenings to any male over age 40 with a 10 year or greater life expectancy. PSA screening risks and benefits should be discussed with all male patients who fit this category.
We also urge you to continue sharing your opinions with lawmakers and members of the Central Texas community about the value of prostate cancer testing. We believe men who are in good health and have more than a 10 year life expectancy should have the choice to have the P.S.A. screen and not be discouraged from taking the test.
Why do we encourage our patients over 40 to get a P.S.A. test? Just look at the statistics:
- One in six men in the U.S. will get prostate cancer, making it the second most common cancer among men after skin cancer
- 217, 730 were diagnosed with prostate cancer last year. More than 32,000 men died from the disease
- The P.S.A. test, routinely given to men over age 40, measures the protein, prostate-specific antigen, that’s released by prostate cells. There is little doubt that it helps identify the presence of cancerous cells in the prostate.
For more information, go to www.urologyaustin.com