Doubts remain about whether the benefit of prostate cancer screening is large enough to offset the harms caused by unnecessary biopsies and treatments that can render men incontinent and impotent, according to a recent article in The New York Times.
A recent study published in The Lancet found that routine screening would lower the lifetime cancer risk of the average middle-age man by about 2.4 percent. For every 27 cancers detected by PSA (prostate-specific antigen) screening, only one man's life would be saved.
The PSA test puts men on a path of repeated biopsies and testing, and for some, treatment of a cancer that would have never caused a problem if left alone. Cancer experts now say the focus should be on screening men at high risk and working to identify non-aggressive cancers so men will not be unnecessarily treated for the disease.
In 2011, United States Preventive Services Task Force concluded that healthy men should not be screened for prostate cancer, a finding that drastically changed the standard of care for men who had grown accustomed to annual screenings.
"This overdiagnosis is unacceptable because it also leads to treatment," said Dr. Fritz H. Schroder, the study's lead author. "That's why there is consensus worldwide, with very few exceptions, that the time has not come to recommend population-based screening." Read the full article here:
PSA testing has been recommended for the early detection of prostate cancer. However, new studies question the amount of benefit.
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